Reopening grand for Strathcona summer

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The province’s Open for Summer plan headed into its second phase this week.

On Thursday, June 10, a number of recreation and cultural activities provided by the municipality resumed based on the province’s Stage 2 reopening regulations.

Outdoor recreation, such as field, ball diamond, court and spray park access, reopened without restrictions. Seating at those outdoor venues can also be filled to one-third capacity.

Arts and culture programming, such as half-day activities for preschool, children and youth, will also be offered this summer.

Thursday also saw the relaunch of indoor recreation at 10 arenas (impacting figure skating and hockey camps) and dry surface areas, as well as bookings for the wellness centre — including lap swimming and aquatic fitness — at Millennium Place. Booking information is available at reconline.strathcona.ca.

Distancing and masking requirements will remain in effect at indoor recreational locations.

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The county said outdoor gatherings for PlayDays, Movies in the Park, and Canada Day can also take place. As previously reported, Canada Day will be celebrated across a week of in-person and virtual activities. Some of those will include food trunks stationed in various neighbourhoods throughout the county, Ninja Warrior fitness classes, a public art bike tour, disc golf at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre, a scavenger hunt, and a drive-thru pancake breakfast.

The local Chamber of Commerce does not plan to reverse its cancellation of the Canada Day Parade. However, the county will decide next week if it’s moving ahead with its fireworks display.

Based on one-third capacity restrictions, the Strathcona County Library will also resume its in-person services, the Browse and Go on Tuesday, June 15 at noon.

“We’re looking very forward to seeing you all again,” the library tweeted this week.

Gallery@501 also reopened on Thursday with one-third capacity limits and Festival Place will resume operations on June 16.

The county has also confirmed the Qualico Patio Series, the much-beloved outdoor concert venue, will return this summer. It’s planned to kick off on July 1. Under Stage 2, outdoor public gatherings, for events such as concerts and festivals, will be allowed to have up to 150 people in attendance.

Private gyms and fitness studios were also able to reopen on Thursday to individuals and drop-in activities, however, participants had to maintain three metres of distance during workouts.

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The province’s Stage 2 reopening also saw walk-in services return for personal and wellness services, indoor dining resume in restaurants (a maximum of six people per table, but not required to be from the same household), and the work from home order was lifted, but still recommended by the province.

Casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, and galleries were also permitted to open their doors based on one-third of the fire code capacity. Being mindful of two metres distance, stores were also able to welcome customers based on one-third capacity.

On Tuesday, June 8, Gordon George, deputy director of Emergency Management, told council the county will take a staged approach to reopening to build public confidence as restrictions are loosened. Lindsay Morey/News Staff/File
On Tuesday, June 8, Gordon George, deputy director of Emergency Management, told council the county will take a staged approach to reopening to build public confidence as restrictions are loosened. Lindsay Morey/News Staff/File

Gordon George, deputy director of the county’s Emergency Management, outlined residents should be proud for following public health restrictions as it moved the community’s number of active COVID-19 cases from a third-wave peak of 432 to 66 active cases on Tuesday, June 8.

“Now as we enter a transitional phase, it is the vaccines that will keep our residents safe,” George said. “We need to get comfortable in letting go of these extraordinary measures. As the county leans into a full reopening, we will be following a staged approach, where week by week, we will build capacity and build confidence with our residents with resumed activities. From Alberta Health, they want us to encourage our residents to explore public interactions over the summer when the transmission is slow. Summer will afford us a safe period to move through this transitional phase, to complete the vaccination program and prepare us for full recovery where it’s expected COVID will enter a post-pandemic phase in the fall.”

The province’s Stage 3 reopening is scheduled to take effect two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans are vaccinated.

To view further details of the county’s reopening plan, go to strathcona.ca/covid19.

lmorey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/LindsayDMorey

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