COVID-19 Information for Whitecourt

 

With novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being confirmed in Alberta, the Town wants to ensure the public has access to updated information about this virus.  COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites: 

What is the Town of Whitecourt doing?

The Town of Whitecourt continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic across Alberta, and has adjusted operations per the direction and recommendation of the Province of Alberta.  

As this is an evolving situation the Town’s knowledge of COVID-19 continues to grow as new information becomes available, and any new evidence will inform us on any future actions.  The public is encouraged to monitor the Town’s website and Facebook page for any future updates regarding COVID-19.

Provincial Restrictions

Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency and will implement new health measures to expand capacity, increase vaccination rates and reduce transmission of COVID-19. 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 begin today.

The Government of Alberta has implemented a number of temporary health measures that came into effect September 16, 2021.  For a complete list of all new temporary measures, please visit www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

The Province also introduced a Restrictions Exemption Program that will begin Monday, September 20.  Discretionary events and businesses (restaurants, recreation facilities, retail businesses, etc.) must either adopt the Program, or follow capacity and operation restrictions that will come into effect September 20.  Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program would operate as usual, provided they are serving only people who have proof of immunization or who have a recent privately paid negative test, as per the requirements in place.  For more information on the program visit www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

Masking

  • Mandatory restriction  
    • The Province has announced that masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces. Employees must wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except in work stations or where 2 metre physical distancing or adequate barriers are in place. Schools are not required to implement masking, but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate. 
    • For guests of the Allan & Jean Millar Centre:
      • Masks must be worn upon entering the facility until you reach the area you will be active in.  Masks can then be removed while working out or playing a sport.  Please put masks back on after you are done the activity and when leaving the facility.

Vaccination Program

  • All Albertans 12+ can book now for a COVID-19 vaccination.  As announced on September 3,
  • the Province is offering a one-time incentive of $100 for all Albertans 18+ who receive a first
  • or second dose between September 3 and October 14.  For more information visit https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx.

Help prevent the spread

Community members are asked to continue to be vigilant in following preventative health practices, including physical distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.  For tips on how you can protect yourself and others visit www.alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx.

COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites:

Facility Closures and Service Changes

The nature of services offered in some Town facilities result in an inability to enforce recommended social distancing practices. Additionally, there are limited staffing numbers, making service maintenance challenging if illness were to spread.    Facility service changes identified below will remain in effect until further notice.

Town Office

  • All those entering the building will be asked to pre-screen themselves for symptoms, and are asked to stay home if feeling unwell, are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or have recently travelled internationally in the last 14 days (Albertans are legally required to isolate for 14 days if they returned to or entered Alberta from outside Canada or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19).  Hand sanitizer will be provided upon entering the facility, and directional signs and markers will be in place that public members are asked to follow.  All services and appointments will take place at a front desk, and public members are asked to follow social distancing protocols.
    • The Office will be open normal hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. ​

Allan & Jean Millar Centre

The Town of Whitecourt will be implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre.

Starting September 20, users and spectators at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre will be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent privately paid negative COVID-19 test.  Users and sport spectators will be required to provide:

  • Proof of double vaccination (note that for a transitional period between September 20 and October 25, proof of a  single dose would be considered acceptable as long as the dose was given two weeks or more before the time of service).
  • Documentation of medical exemption for those with a vaccine exemption.
  • Proof of a recent (within the previous 72 hours) negative COVID-19 test (either PCR or Rapid Test). Per provincial guidelines, the test may not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

Please note:

  • Children younger than 12 years are not required to show proof of vaccination.
  • For those 17 and under, proof of vaccination is not required participating in recreational activity or sport, or school activities (i.e. minor soccer).
  • Individuals 12 years and older that are attending the facility as spectators will be required to show proof of vaccination or provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The Aquatic Centre at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre has reopened to the public.   Please visit the Allan & Jean Millar Facebook page for a current schedule. 

As all areas of the facility will be open for use starting next week, Allan & Jean Millar Centre memberships will be re-instated.  Members that will be unable to attend the facility due to the Restrictions Exemption Program should contact the facility at 780-778-3637 to discuss options.

Carlan Services Community Resource Centre

  • Open to provide Whitecourt Food Bank services.  Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Contact the Food Bank at 780-778-2341.
  • The Whitecourt Eary Learning and Childcare Centre is open with limited access.  Contact the Centre at 780-706-3295.

Forest Interpretive Centre

  • The Forest Interpretive Centre will operate at 1/3 fire code capacity.  The facility will remain available for business and approved support group rentals. 
  • Masks and 2 metres physical distancing are required.

Parks & Pathways

  • Park areas throughout Whitecourt remain open, including local trails and pathways.  Please follow social and physical distancing practices as recommended by the Province of Alberta. 

Playground Structures

  • Residents are encouraged to utilize the playground in their immediate neighbourhood, and physical distancing protocols of 2-metres must be maintained when using equipment.  Users are responsible for bringing and using their own sanitizers to sanitize equipment and hands prior to and after use, and are recommended to wash hands with soap and water when returning home.

Public Works Shop

  • Call 780-778-2705 to speak with a member of the Infrastructure Services Department.

RCMP 

  • For all emergencies call 9-1-1.  Prior to visiting the RCMP Detachment please call 780-778-5900 to find out if your service request can be conducted via telephone.

rotary park

  • Open spaces, trails, and the playground at Rotary Park are open for public use.  
  • Physical distancing protocols of 2-metres must be maintained when using equipment.  Users are responsible for bringing and using their own sanitizers to sanitize equipment and hands prior to and after use, and are recommended to wash hands with soap and water when returning home. 
  • When parking your vehicle at Rotary Park please leave an empty stall between parked  cars to meet physical distancing requirements.

Scott Safety Centre

  • Spectator attendance is restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity, attendees are limited to a single household or 2 close contacts if living alone and must be masked and must maintain 2 metres physical distancing.
  • For those 18 and over participating in recreation hockey, shinney and public skating the Restrictions Exemption Program applies.

Transfer Station

  • Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Whitecourt Fire Hall

  • Special measures are being taken to ensure the continuation of emergency response.  There is no change in the level of service provided to the community.

Whitecourt Public Library

Whitecourt Regional Landfill

  • Open Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  (Drop offs must be at the landfill at least 15 minutes prior to closure to allow time for unloading.)

Whitecourt Transit

  • For hours of service, click here.  
  • Masks or face coverings are required to use Whitecourt Public Transit services.  Drivers will require riders to have a mask or face covering (scarf, bandana) on prior to entering the bus.  Per provincial guidelines, children 2 and under are not required to wear face coverings.  For more information on mask use, please visit the Government of Alberta's website.
  • Updates on the status of the transit service will continue to be posted on TransLoc as well as the Town of Whitecourt’s Facebook page and at website at www.whitecourt.ca.   

Information Links

Business Resources - Economic Support and Recovery

Masks are required to be worn in all indoor public spaces and workspaces effective Saturday, September 4 at 8am.  Posters are available at the Province's website for businesses wishing to post this information at their storefronts and entrances.

There are a number of new and existing resources that are available to local businesses that will provide support at this time.  Whitecourt, the Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Yellowhead East have compiled information links on this page to provide easy access to our community.  To access the resources click here.

COVID-19 Updates for Whitecourt

It's a priority of the Town of Whitecourt to keep the community informed on the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our community. 

How you can help

To protect yourself and others:

  • practice physical distancing
  • wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • avoid travel outside Canada
  • watch for COVID-19 symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat

When out in public, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. You do not need to remain indoors, but you do need to avoid being in close contact with people.  This means making changes in your everyday routines to minimize close contact with others, including:

  • Keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others when going out for groceries, and other essential needs,
  • Limit the number of times you leave your home for errands,
  • Try to shop at less busy times,
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces.

If you are self-isolating:

  • Stay at home – do not attend work, social events or any other public gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact with other people, including household members but especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Don’t take public transportation, like buses, taxis or ride sharing.
  • Watch for symptoms.

For more information visit www.alberta.ca/self-isolation.aspx.

Enforcement of provincial health measures

Through the amendments to the Procedures Regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health order.

  • Fines administered through tickets for violating an order are $2,000 per occurrence
  • Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.

Albertans who witness/are aware of individuals who are not following self-isolation orders are to:

  • Take proper precautions and, if possible, distance yourself from the individual to limit your risk of exposure if they have symptoms.
  • If possible, remind the person that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk.
  • Notify local law enforcement immediately of any individuals who are not following the self-isolation orders by submitting a complaint online at https://ephisahs.microsoftcrmportals.com/create-case/.

The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints.

Family & Community Supports and Services

It is important to know where you can turn if you or someone you know is experiencing family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help is available to Albertans dealing with family violence, partner abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, pet abuse, or financial abuse.

We all play a role in learning where to turn to for help. Please consider sharing these supports among your personal and professional networks.

  • Read and share – Family violence during COVID-19 info sheet
  • In case of emergency, call 911. Police and emergency responders will continue to respond throughout the pandemic, even to those in quarantine. 
  • Family Violence Info Line
    • anonymous support from trained staff:
      • Call 310-1818 | 24/7 | 170+ languages
      • Chat online alberta.ca/SafetyChat | 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily | English
    • Other supports and services for those experiencing family violence