3 days ago • 3 minute read
The city will close six roadways this weekend to give people enough space to keep their distance if they venture outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government leaders and health officials across Canada are urging people not to leave their homes except for essential reasons, like trips to the grocery store. But unless people are sick, they’re still allowed to go outside to public spaces — as long as they stay at least two metres away from others, since personal contact can transmit the novel coronavirus.
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This weekend, Calgary will close parts of the Memorial Drive south carriageway, Riverfront Drive, 12th Street S.E., Elbow Drive S.W., Crowchild Trail S.W. and all lanes of the lower deck of the Centre Street bridge.
According to a briefing note from roads director Troy McLeod, the closures will be a temporary pilot project, and Calgarians should still be encouraged to stay home whenever possible.
The measures are in place to “provide Calgarians options” to meet government directives to avoid contact with others if they have to leave their homes.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Friday that the closures shouldn’t be an “invitation” to increase gathering in areas that are already more likely to be crowded.
“We’re really doing it much more on a reactive basis,” he said. “It’s going to be much more along the lines of just making sure that if we need to use roadway space so that people have room, we will do so.”
Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said she asked city officials to look at options to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists about 10 days ago.
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“Governments have to move fast in times like this when there’s a health care crisis going on. You have to try things like this and see how it works,” she said Friday.
“What my primary thought was let’s do this in the higher density areas — so in the core and near the core where we have a higher density than in the suburbs.It’s a big deal in the inner city where there’s greater risks.”
Last weekend, Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson told Calgarians that “we need to be better than we are” after he saw crowded pathways and people walking together in tight groups. He added that if people go out, they should avoid touching things like public water fountains and benches.
Council members have been holding a daily remote meeting to talk about their response to COVID-19 in Calgary, and Colley-Urquhart said they’ll be taking a close look at how the weekend closures go.
“This crisis we’re in, we’re in it for the long haul. It could go for a few months and it could come back on us again in the fall,” Colley-Urquhart said.
“We understand we need to have physical distancing, but if we’re given more room to get out there and be with others, we can see we’re in this together.”
The city closed all of its playgrounds earlier this week, but parks are still open.
Calgary to test weekend road closures during COVID-19 pandemic | Calgary Herald
3 days ago • 3 minute read The city will close six roadways this weekend to give people enough space to keep their distance if they venture outside during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government leaders and health officials across Canada are urging people not to leave their homes except for essential reasons, like trips to the… [Read More]