Edmonton businesses doing “phenomenal job” with COVID relaunch, Edmontonians need to protect economy, too

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson thanked Edmonton businesses for complying with COVID-19 relaunch guidelines. 

“Our businesses are doing a phenomenal job with relaunch so far,” said the Mayor during a City Council meeting on Wednesday, October 7.

“That’s not where we’re seeing the issues,” he said. “People can feel confident to go out and support our local businesses at a time when they’re struggling.”

All Edmontonians share the responsibility of making the right health decisions in their own lives—to protect themselves from the virus, and the local economy from further restrictions.

That theme was a key message that came out of the Council meeting, which was held against a backdrop of rising COVID numbers in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson, file.

David Aitken, the chair of the City of Edmonton’s COVID task team, said the numbers back up the responsible work of local businesses in keeping people safe.

“The data surveillance information shows very low numbers, in the one percentile, of any sort of link to restaurants or retail, so, a great job by those folks,” said Aitken. 

By the numbers 

Here’s what’s out there now:

1,063: active COVID cases in Edmonton zone

645: active cases in Calgary zone

56: percent of active cases in Alberta occurring in Edmonton

789: new cases in Edmonton for week of September 29 to October 5, 2020

394: new cases in Calgary zone

94.6/100K population: rate of active case infection in Edmonton zone

Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin, file.

Out there ill or waiting for results

Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin said an Alberta Health Services review traced more than 10 percent of current cases in Edmonton to people going back to work or out in public when ill or waiting for test results. 

“These behaviours are contributing significantly to transmission of the virus and if they continue, they have the potential to turn the dial back and cause us to take a step back in our relaunch efforts,” said Laughlin. 

A physically distanced meeting of Edmonton City Council, October 7, 2020.

Private decisions, public damage

The Mayor connected the dots between private decisions and economic damage.

“If…community transmission starts in private gatherings, at private homes or other gatherings where the measures are not being observed for hand hygiene, for distancing, for isolation and for face coverings, that’s how this can get away from us,” the Mayor said. 

“And that could, not to raise the spectre of it, but that could be a serious threat to our economy, which is in a very fragile state right now.” 

The Mayor said in some cases the care and attention in private gatherings isn’t as rigorous as it is in businesses, where the “livelihood of the people and the owners and the business is dependent on maintaining public hygiene.” 

Thanksgiving 

For those wondering how the talk at City Hall should affect the work in the kitchen as Thanksgiving approaches, Laughlin said the City has advised the province that it supports a number of measures, including “advising Edmontonians to restrict their Thanksgiving dinner to their immediate household members.”