Edmonton Notes for April 5, 2020

As of April 5 at 6pm, there are 1,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta including 309 here in the Edmonton zone. That’s up from 661 provincial cases and 149 local cases just one week ago. Twenty-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.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • The economic impacts of COVID-19 are impacting the City of Edmonton which is facing a potential $28 million net loss by the end of April, reports CBC News. That equates to a 1.7% tax increase, and the loss could grow to $61.1 million if businesses remain closed until mid-June and $112 million if physical distancing continue until mid-September.
  • The City of Edmonton has announced it will temporarily lay off 1,600 staff along with 489 Edmonton Public Library employees as a result of the closure of facilities and libraries. The City will be providing supplement pay "for eight weeks for provisional or temporary employees and 16 weeks for permanent staff," reports CBC News.
  • City Council has renewed the State of Local Emergency for another seven days and the City has announced new restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Effective April 4, "four fenced dog parks will be closed and users of other off-leash areas must keep their dogs on-leash until further notice."
  • City Council has approved the deferral of Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tax Levy payment penalties until September 30, 2020.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board is facing a $17.5 million cut this school year as a result of the provincial government’s announcement of reduced funding for K-12 education during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CBC News. "These changes significantly impact our ability to support students, all of our students," said board chair Trisha Estabrooks.
  • "Our community is in crisis and I think that’s really alarming because these are such early days," said Janet Riopel, president of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, only 13% of local businesses surveyed expect they’ll be able to avoid layoffs.
  • Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has closed its doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a social media update from the hotel. "This certainly isn’t goodbye, it’s farewell for now."
  • The Oilers Entertainment Group is temporarily laying off 139 workers effective April 13, reports CBC Edmonton. The organization will "create an employee assistance fund to ensure all non-executive employees who have been laid off, or who are working from home, will still receive 75% to 90% of their salaries."
  • "Despite his complaint that there is no vision at the city, it’s never been obvious to me that he has much of one to offer himself," wrote Keith Gerein about Councillor Mike Nickel, who he says is politicking during a pandemic.
  • Connor McDavid has decided to stay put in Edmonton rather than risk travelling home to Toronto, reports CBC News.
  • "We gathered a panel of Edmonton fashion experts and combed through a wide, unsolicited array of local fashion mavens with style attitude for our first official celebration of our city’s style," writes Avenue Edmonton. The April issue features Edmonton’s Best Dressed.
  • "With public gatherings in the province limited to just 15 people and the majority of public facilities closed to the public, Edmonton is looking a little bit like a ghost town," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • Ryan Reynolds has made a $4,000 donation to Edmonton’s Food Bank. “I happen to love Edmonton. This donation is in memory of Connor McGrath. Love, Ryan Reynolds,” the Deadpool star wrote.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Social distancing
Social distancing, photo by HandsLive

Upcoming Events (April 6-12)

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. "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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