June 16th, 2024

City responds to Alberta’s loosening of COVID-19 restrictions

By Lethbridge Herald on March 1, 2022.

Herald file photo The City of Lethbridge is lifting restrictions on staff including the COVID-19 vaccination policy as the province moves into Phase 2 of its work to cut COVID measures.

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

The City of Lethbridge is lifting restrictions on staff including the COVID-19 vaccination policy as the province moves into Phase 2 of its work to cut COVID measures.

On Tuesday, Alberta made numerous changes to provincial policy which included lifting the mask mandate except on municipal and intra-provincial public transit for Albertans 13 and older and in AHS-operated and contracted facilities as well as all continuing care facilities.

The Kenney government also lifted mandatory work-from-home requirements and capacity limits on all large venues.

Lethbridge People and Culture Manager Jason Elliott said Tuesday “effective today we’ve rescinded our COVID vaccination policy.”

He said the city is following all provincial health changes as they relate to mandatory work from home and other things affecting City employees.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked hard to comply with the provincial direction on any health measures that are put in place and it’s no different when the health measures are removed that we’re working hard to comply with those removal orders as well.”

Elliott said the City is doing so in “a very careful and methodical way. Just as we got into the putting measures in place, we’re moving very carefully in removing the measures to ensure the continued health and safety of our staff and the community, in general.”

For City staff, changes mean depending on the work situation, employees may start returning to work. The majority of them never left them, he said, with many of them customer service providers whose efforts in the past two years are important to recognize.

“The majority of staff who have been working remotely, a good portion of those are office related staff, that aren’t necessarily customer service forward facing and as a result, we’ll work on bringing those folks back over time subject to other practises that we put in place,” Elliot added.

With two years in this environment, the City has had time to look at what workplace needs may be “and we’re looking at a few folks anyway remaining working remotely where their job function permits.”

Masking will be optional except in Transit, Fire/EMS and at the airport.

“We will certainly encourage staff to do what they feel they need to do and want to do to ensure their own personal health and safety,” Elliott said.

“We do have a couple of operational areas that are under different rules and regulations such as our Fire/EMS folks follow under the AHS policies so those still remain in place and our airport staff are federally regulated so there will be some specific requirements that those staff are asked to comply with.” Those areas are in addition to the requirements for Transit staff.

The public is no longer required to mask so “therefore we won’t be requiring employees to mask. We will certainly support anybody in the public or staff who are comfortable in still wearing a mask.

“This will continue to be a dynamic situation and we will continue to monitor it,” Elliott added.

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