Following is a transcript of the post made by Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk March 25 as provided by the mayor:
Covid-19 Pandemic Update #3 – March 25, 2020
There are now 5 confirmed cases of Covi-19 within the High Prairie area. Given that the virus is in our community, I urge people to take extra care to stay healthy and not spread the virus. Please adhere to the guidelines given by the province which can be found out the province’s Covid-19 website or on the Town’s website.
Thanks to the people that during this pandemic are running the essential services, like grocery stores and pharmacies, gas stations, our health care providers and town employees. Let’s all do our part to keep these people safe and not spread the virus.
People must find new ways to do things but still meet social distancing restrictions. For example, for the first time ever, Town Council held a council meeting by video conference. Another example is the Town Office is closed to the public but we are still available to serve you. Please call if you have any issues.
Several municipalities have declared a State Of Local Emergency (SOLE) and I have had questions about why we are not declaring one also. Council has been considering this option and at this time we are following the recommendations of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency who is not recommending that we declare one at this time. Some communities have used a SOLE to prevent companies from inflating prices, but this is not an issue in our town. I have heard concerns that some people are ignoring the social distancing guidelines. This is a problem is many municipalities in the province and Canada. The province has announced that they will be implementing a fine for people who do not self isolate or ignore the other social distancing guidelines. The fines should be announced later this week and will hopefully help to alleviate this issue.
The Town recognizes that many people are not working due to the many closures resulting from this pandemic. This is going to create financial hardship for residents over the next few months. The federal and provincial governments have announced many programs to help people during this time. Town Council has also approved that no resident will have their utilities disconnecting for the next 90 days for failing to pay their utility bills. We will also be waiving any penalties during this time to help people get back on their feet. The town is also exploring other ways that we might help people such as extending the date property taxes are due and waiving of penalties.
Council would like to stress the importance of everyone following the social distancing recommendations and let’s stay healthy and stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community.