Letter to citizens May 7, 2021
Today I will give you an update on the Covid 19 situation and on other related and municipal matters
COVID -19 UPDATE
My last release showed a certain optimism in the numbers going down, but this past week, numbers are going back up rapidly which seem to be the result of an outbreak of active cases in the Cardston county. As of today Friday May 6, 2021, we have 62 active cases for a total of 962 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. It is with sadness that we need to report two more deaths related to Covid 19 in our health region, bringing the total of casualties to 16 in the Cardston-Kainai Health region. To the affected families we wish to offer our sincere condolences at this very difficult time.
The only way to improve the situation is to go back to basics, being more vigilant in maintaining proper distancing, 2 meters apart, washing hands and sanitizing on a regular basis, following proper guidelines regarding mask wearing, avoiding crowds and home parties and being mindful of the health and safety of others when shopping. And to as many who are able to receive the vaccine, please take advantage of this opportunity. Reaching herd immunity is the goal to avoid more stringent and restrictive measures on our lives. We are all suffering from Covid fatigue and so are all the medical staff and first line responders. We need to help each other overcome this health issue. To those who have family members who are sick and afflicted, my thoughts and prayers are for you. And to all of you who have seen their surgeries or treatments postponed, I know your concerns and anxiety. My message is still the same. We can beat this problem, but we all need to do our part and work together.
This brings me to the new measures announced by the Government this past Tuesday. The Province is dealing with unprecedented number of new active cases and hospitalizations in a much younger population. Mandatory additional measures are effective immediately and will be in place for the next 3 weeks in all high case region which includes the Cardston County Health region. So let us review the mandatory measures:
- All indoor gatherings remain prohibited. This includes schools that will not be in session face-to-face for the next 3 weeks except for the Hutterite Colonies due to lack of adequate access to Technology to pursue on-line learning.
- All outdoor social gatherings must be limited to no more than 5 people and a maximum of 2 households cohorts.
- Mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.
- Fitness and recreation activities-indoor and outdoor
- As of May 5, indoor fitness and recreation facilities must be closed, including 1-on-1 training.
- As of May 9, all indoor sport, performance and recreation activities for youth and adults are prohibited.
- All outdoor sports such as team sports, fitness classes, training sessions and recreation activities are prohibited except with members of your own household or your two close contacts if you live alone.
- Outdoor recreation facilities can remain open unless specifically closed by public health order.
- Customer capacity will be reduced to 10% of fire code occupancy or a minimum of 5 customers. This will require shoppers to have more patience and understanding while shopping at our local businesses. Please follow and accept their protocols. It is hard enough for them to keep their doors open.
- Curbside pick-up, delivery and on-line services are provided by some stores to serve customers at this trying time.
- Personal and wellness services
- As of May 9, personal and wellness services, including hair salons, barbers, nail salons must close.
- Places of worship
- As of May 5, faith services are limited to 15 in-person attendees.
- Physical distancing between households must be maintained at all times.
- Virtual or online services are recommended. In our Town, this is already taking place.
- Drive-in services are permitted if people stay in their cars.
- Funerals and Weddings
- Effective May 5, 10 people maximum for funerals and weddings including participants and guests.
- Funeral and wedding receptions are not permitted.
- Workplace rules
- If 3 cases were reported at the Town’s office or within any department, the Town would need to apply the Provincial measures of shutting down the office and applying contingency measures to keep all utilities operating according to Provincial guidelines.
- Employees at work will continue to wear a mask for all indoor settings if not able to physically distance from co-workers. The same is valid for Council members.
- Out-of-Town travel and visitors
- The rules are still the same. Please review them on the Alberta site. Cabin fever is understandable, but breaking the rules can become a way to spread the disease. Be mindful of your actions and do your outmost if you must travel to protect yourself and those you will come in contact with.
- Please make sure that your friends and family members who wish to visit you are aware of the provincial rules and of the travel restrictions orders.
As you can see these measures are comprehensive but the difference from Phase 1 a year or so ago is the new focus on enforcement. All of the details can be found on the AHS or Town of Cardston website.
COVID-19 AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
The Government has given broader enforcement powers to Alberta Health and the RCMP to enforce public health measures. As Mayor, I support the enforcement on those who willingly contravene the health orders. Organizers and participants of gatherings of protest or demonstration are also being penalized much harsher by the Province. The Town does not condone any of these types of protest activities.
On a non-covid related note…
VICTIM SERVICES-VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
If you have a fair amount of free time and are interested in giving service to the Victim Services Agency, please contact the Local RCMP Detachment (Phone Number # 403-653-4932) to obtain an application and details about the volunteer position. They need help!
The RCMP offers good solid tips to avoid for our citizens to become victims of crime of opportunity. Please be vigilant in securing your property and belongings. Please do not leave your car unlocked with valuables unattended. Be vigilant!
ASSESSMENT AND TAX NOTICES
Next week, Council will set the mill rate and tax notices will be send by the end of the month. The budget was based on a 2% increase in revenues. Town’s Assessment value of properties was down as of Dec 31, 2020 and the mill rate reflected this reality. For the past 9 years, our residential and non-residential mill rates remained fairly stable. This is not the case for 2021 and so depending on your house assessment, you may see an increase on your annual taxes. This budget has been very challenging due to the desire of Council to reserve 1Million Dollars in Park and Rec reserves. This was not realized in this budget. Looking forward, increased policing costs over the next 3 years, reduced provincial grants and transfers to municipalities, large capital utility projects will create even more fiduciary challenges for the next Council. Priorities of Council will need to be carefully established to keep the Town financially sustainable.
Be safe, be kind and enjoy the outdoors. And to all of our mothers, have a safe Happy Mother’s Day!
It is always a pleasure to serve you.
The Mayor details the current restrictions. See alberta.ca for full details.