WESTLOCK - The Town of Westlock declared a state of local emergency March 22 at 4 p.m. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the town the authority to enforce the Alberta Health Services-recommended measures of social distancing and self-isolation.
“Our health officials have put together some very clear guidelines for people to follow. What we may be seeing is that there is some success in that. However, there are individuals that are ignoring that and it’s appropriate for our businesses, for our institutions, for everyone to be able to enforce the guidelines that are prescribed by Alberta Health,” said mayor Ralph Leriger.
The declaration gives town officials the power to enforce the measures, but Leriger says details on what enforcement might look like are still to come.
“Social distancing and self-isolation might be working. Continued vigilance is what’s appropriate,” added Leriger, pointing to the exponential rise in cases of COVID across the province up to Friday, and a slight decrease over the weekend.
“This declaration is not a cause for panic. … What we need everyone to do is get their information from credible sources, look after each other and stay calm.”
Earlier in the week, the town joined municipalities across the province in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, shuttering its rec facilities and main office.
The town announced the Rotary Spirit Centre and Aquatic Centre closures late March 15 following the provincial announcement that all schools were closing March 16. The main town office, FCSS and the library, housed in the Heritage Building along with town council chambers and Adult Learning Centre, are also closed.
More details on the Town's response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be available in the March 24 edition of the Westlock News.