July 25th, 2024

City reacts to province’s lifting of COVID rules

By Lethbridge Herald on June 14, 2022.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch Director of Community Services Mike Fox speaks to media at City Hall Tuesday.

Trevor Busch
Lethbridge Herald

With the province moving to rescind all remaining COVID restrictions as of midnight last night, the City of Lethbridge is pivoting to respond to the announcement with changes to some of its services.

One last major line in the defence against COVID-19 was the requirement for mandatory masking on public transit, which has now been eliminated.

“We’ll follow the same protocol that the province is putting in. That includes we won’t be requiring proof of vaccination for employees that are being hired. For Transit buses masks will not longer be required …pretty much it’s back to pre-COVID conditions now,” said Mike Fox, director of community services, during a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday. “I think they’ve highlighted that if the need comes to put it back in, they will, but they’ll do that very thoughtfully. I think the federal government also stated that.”

Mandatory isolation has also come to an end, but Fox indicated the status quo will prevail regarding the City’s approach to employees that are ill. 

“Really nothing changes there. If you aren’t feeling well, and staff are feeling sick, they’re supposed to be at home.”

Though not required, isolation is still recommended for those suffering from COVID-19 symptoms or have a positive test result. Some measures will remain in place in health and continuing care settings.

“For the City, we rely on the province for anything really related to health, and so with the announcement we believe in the province’s chief medical officer, and the decisions they make,” continued Fox. “We’ve been following along all along with the COVID restrictions and what’s been in place.”

Lethbridge Transit general manager Tim Sanderson is hoping to see a steady uptick in ridership as the implications of Monday’s announcement sink in.

“I’m hoping so. We’ve been seeing a pretty good upward trend for ridership, especially over the last few months, and are really anticipating that when school gets back in session in September — especially with all of these regulations lifted — that we should be at, or exceeding, our pre-COVID levels.”

Sanderson hasn’t heard any feedback from the ridership.

“We haven’t heard anything yet, and of course the announcement is still really early.”

Fox admits he wasn’t expecting the announcement from the province on Monday.

“I was surprised to see that it was being lifted, but I’m happy things are getting back to normal.”

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