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Council advocates for regional reopening approach

Members of Grande Prairie city council have asked Mayor Jackie Clayton to advocate the province to push a regional reopening approach for businesses.

The debate was brought about following a delegation from the ownership group from Trapped, who last week, spoke with Premier Jason Kenney and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on a provincial town hall urging them to implement a criteria-based approach to business reopenings.

Regional reopenings could see areas with a sustained run of few, or no active cases, able to loosen business re-opening restrictions, rather than a blanket approach for all regions. Clayton says the letter will hopefully allow them to get answers about the feasibility.

“We thought that the original layout was a good first step, and this is sort of the next step,” she says.

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“What additional information can we find out? Whether it’s working with other sports [leagues] or potentially getting necessary people back to work…what the parameters around getting people back to work means.”

Clayton says specific criterion is an area of extreme importance, and not all businesses of one sector can be lumped together. She adds keeping people safe is the first priority, but people must be able to reopen sooner rather than later.

“When you lump these businesses together, sometimes the blanket regulation isn’t suitable for everybody,” she says.

“Although the province has laid out its four-phase plan…there could potentially be more drill down specific regulations that would be valuable to businesses,” she adds.

Trapped Owner Heather Fedorick said after her provincial town hall appearance that she understands there is no way the province could effectively access every business to see if they can meet criteria, but she feels like it would be worth looking at the process.

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