With the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions, local businesses and facilities are pivoting once again.
Last week the province announced new measures to curb overwhelming Alberta’s Health Care System. This includes measures in workplaces, indoor private gatherings, places of worship, schools, and children’s activities, as well as mandatory masking and physical distancing in all indoor public spaces.
These were followed by restrictions at retail, weddings and funerals, recreation facilities, sports, and fitness.
The government also introduced a Restrictions Exemption Program. As of Monday, September 20, vaccine-eligible individuals will be required to provide government-issued proof of immunization or a negative, privately paid, COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours to access a variety of participating social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province.
Alberta residents can download a proof of vaccination card to verify they have received their shots.
For the Town of Drumheller, it released its plans for its recreation facilities, which will operate with capacity and operating restrictions.
Drumheller’s recreation department will continue to welcome all members of the community safely by enhancing cleaning, physical distancing measures, one-third capacity limits, and encouraging users to stay home if unwell.
“At this time, we can better manage capacity restrictions and increased cleanliness than assessing users’ medical information by activating the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP),” said Darren Goldthorpe, Manager of Recreation Arts & Culture. “Our facilities have always been an inclusive space where all citizens and visitors feel welcome, and have the opportunity to increase their quality of life in our community facility.”
Members and visitors of the facility must complete a COVID-19 assessment before attending any municipal recreation facility, and must not enter if presenting any symptoms.
Local businesses are falling in line with the new measure many opting to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program. Restaurants, including WHIFS Flapjack House and Athens Restaurant, have posted they would be using the restrictions exemption program.
Dave Misra owner of Yavis Family Restaurant explains they will be participating in the exemption programs using the proof of vaccination program.
“If we don’t open and have to close, that won’t make any sense. They are giving us a chance to see the response from the people,” he said.
Misra says there are some who are okay with the program while others are resistant.
“A lot of people are saying it’s okay, mostly the senior people are okay with it, the youngsters are not, so it is a mixed reaction,” said Misra.
“It is a precarious situation where you don’t know what to do and what not to do.”