Edmonton city managers face barrage of questions on COVID-19 orders

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and interim city manager Adam Laughlin will give an update on the city’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 at a media availability at city hall Thursday afternoon. 

Earlier, at a now-weekly emergency advisory committee meeting, city councillors voiced concerns to administrators about how the city is dealing with the pandemic.

Questions ranged from what the city is doing to improve safety on transit to what it’s doing to help festivals faced with cancelling their events this year.

Three councillors questioned the city’s decision last week to order people to keep their dogs on leashes in parks. 

Councillors Tim Cartmell, Jon Dzidayk and Sarah Hmailton said they’ve heard from residents unhappy with that order. 

“Some people felt that that put them more at risk,” Hamilton said. 

She said her constituentstold her that without a flexible leash, their dog could pull them within two metres of other individuals, putting them more at risk. 

Laughlin said the city has noticed challenges with physical distancing at off-leash dog parks.

Coun. Tony Caterina said the city isn’t acting fast enough to enforce orders, grilling Laughlin on the timeliness of the city’s orders and urging him to order stricter measures regardless of public displeasure.

“I would expect you to make the timely decisions,” Caterina said.

Laughlin said he and his staff are working on what the new normal will look like for the city. 

Edmonton council first agreed to declare the state of local emergency on Mar. 20, three days after the Alberta government announced a state of public health emergency. 

The city’s declaration gives it extraordinary powers to impose orders on the public related to COVID-19 public health orders.

That order followed the previous week’s that forced many non-essential businesses closed, anything from clothing stores to hair salons. 


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