Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton believes that with the removal of some restrictions, namely the Restrictions Exemption Program, and mandatory masking for K-12 students, the divide between some community members will shrink.
Clayton says while COVID-19 will continue to be a health concern for an unknown amount of time, she feels optimistic that those in the community will move forward together positively. However, she still believes the golden rule of if you’re not feeling well, stay home, needs to continue to apply.
“I strongly believe we have great facilities in our community and there is a desire for residents to use them safely.”
“The community is optimistic and looking to access these facilities and businesses… people are looking forward to going out to restaurants again,” she adds.
Clayton says in addition to allowing all residents to use facilities like the Eastlink and Coke Centres, the removal of REP will also provide a positive for staff, as the conversations throughout the last six months have been at times, tense.
“There are many differences of opinion, and this has been going on for a long time… I’m optimistic that, now people can use facilities, that it just takes the stress out of the conversation,” she says.
“I look forward to seeing more smiling faces out, and I think it’ll take a little bit of time, but I look forward to that.”
Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday, that if hospitalization rates continue to trend downward in a meaningful way, Step 2 of restrictions being lifted will begin at 11:59 pm on February 28th. Step two will include lifting the provincial indoor mask mandate.