Edmonton Notes for March 29, 2020

As of March 29 at 5:30pm, there are 661 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta including 149 here in Edmonton. That’s up from 259 provincial cases and 60 local cases just one week ago. Three Albertans have died from the disease.

The Government of Alberta’s page on COVID-19 has the most up-to-date information for our province. Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

COVID-19 coverage from Taproot Edmonton

As I mentioned last week, we have launched a COVID-19 microsite to answer questions from our community. Here are some of the most recent entries:

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council unanimously approved the extension of the state of local emergency (SOLE) on Thursday afternoon. By provincial legislation, the SOLE must be renewed every seven days. The Emergency Advisory Committee will meet every Thursday at 1:30pm until the SOLE has ended.
  • "If we don’t get hold of this thing and fast, more drastic distancing orders could come down," tweeted Mayor Don Iveson in response to reports of crowded parks and trails. "Everything is on the table," said Councillor Aaron Paquette in an interview with CBC. "The next step, of course, is more strict control, maybe curfews, maybe even closures, but we don’t want to go there if we don’t have to."
  • Troy and I discussed the state of local emergency and the power it affords on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The City of Edmonton also ordered personal service businesses, including hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, and body rub parlours, to close. The order "will affect about 1,000 store-front businesses and 500 home-based businesses and is effective immediately," reports CBC News.
  • The City had earlier in the week closed all City playgrounds, citing the fact that playground equipment is not cleaned or sanitized.
  • Mayor Don Iveson said in a news release on Tuesday that Edmonton "wants to offer the option to defer all property taxes to both residential and non-residential taxpayers" but "would need a substantial commitment from the provincial and/or federal government that they would provide a cash backstop or other measures that makes this relief financially possible for municipalities."
  • Data from the past week shows there are 30% fewer vehicles on city streets but during the same period there has been "a 30% increase in motorists exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h, and a whopping 200% increase in drivers travelling at more than 50 km/h over the speed limit," reports CBC News. Council said on Thursday they’ve been receiving a bunch of correspondence about this.
  • The Downtown Business Association is calling for the Edmonton Police Service to do more patrols due to how quiet the pedway system and buildings have become as more people work from home. “We want to make sure that people that aren’t supposed to be in these buildings [aren’t],” said executive director Ian O’Donnell.
  • "Organizers of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals worry that COVID-19 may kill their season this year," reports CBC News. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Taste of Edmonton, and the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival are all discussing contingency plans.
  • Linda Hoang has put together Spin the Wheel of Local: Edmonton Edition! to "add to the growing resources aimed at helping you support local businesses, in a fun and slightly different way."
  • Bob and Doug, "two iconic and aggressively Canadian characters on the sketch comedy show Second City TV (SCTV)," have been honoured in bronze in ICE District.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

100th street Edmonton March 22 2020
100th Street Edmonton on March 22, photo by Jason Woodhead

Upcoming Events (March 30-April 5)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

Gatherings with 15 or more people have been restricted in Alberta, a reduction from the previous limit of 50 people. "If you violate this public health order and proceed to hold an event with more than 15 attendees, you may be subject to a fine."

There are some online events taking place, however. The latest Music Roundup lists some of the online concerts coming up!

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