The Town of Westlock continues to support the efforts of Alberta Health and the Provincial Government in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Westlock Town Council is fully aware that Alberta Health and the Provincial Government is continually monitoring this pandemic and adding further restrictions as required. We commend them for that.
We, Town Council, continue to monitor the local situation and sincerely hope our community recognizes the seriousness of the situation and are adhering to the Provincial rules.
Due to the continual seriousness of this pandemic, Town Council has chosen to renew the State of Local Emergency that was originally declared on March 22, 2020.
Again, we advise everyone to continue the Social and Physical Distancing, or just stay home, in hopes that we can Stop the Spread of COVID-19.
CLICK HERE to view the Renewal of the State of Local Emergency
Q&As on the Essential Services list
Q: What is the purpose of an Essential Services List?
A: The businesses and services on the essential serviceslist can continue to provide services at locations accessible to the public and must have proper risk mitigation measures in place, such as sanitation stations and appropriate distancing between customers.
The intent of this list is to provide general guidance to business owners and operators. It is not meant to be exhaustive.
Q: Where do I find a list of essential services and businesses that are closed?
Restrictions apply to the following:
- Close contact businesses including hair salons and barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, esthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
- Dine-in restaurants will no longer be able to offer dine-in service. Take-out and delivery services will continue to be available.
- Non-essential retail services that fall into the categories of clothing, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centres such as hobby and toys, gift and specialty items and furniture.
Q: I can’t find my business type on the Essential Services list how do I confirm if I can operate or not?
A: If your business type isn’t specifically listed as prohibited to operate, or if you don’t fall within specific parameters that are stating that you are prohibited to operate, you are safe to continue operations.
Workplaces that are not otherwise restricted or ordered to close can have more than 15 workers on a work site as long as they follow all public health guidelines, including social distancing measures. Employers should:
- self-assess and find alternate ways to organize large group meetings
- cancel workplace gatherings of 15 or more people in a single space (e.g. training events)
- employ mitigation strategies to limit risk
- continue business continuity planning to prepare critical operations for any potential interruption
Q: If my business type is on the required to close, can I continue to operate if I eliminate interaction with the public/customers?
A: Businesses types that are specifically listed as prohibited to operate, as outlined here, may choose to offer online shopping and curb-side pick-up.
Q: My business/industry type is not on the Essential Services list and I feel it should be listed as essential, whom do I contact?
A: Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Note this account will be monitored actively after Monday, March 30)
The Town of Westlock continues to support the efforts of Alberta Health and the Provincial Government in slowing the spread of COVID-19. In light of the recent Provincial change in rules the Town is renewing the State of Local Emergency originally declared on March 22, 2020. We will continue to monitor the local situation and sincerely hope our community recognizes the seriousness of the situation and are adhering to the Provincial rules.CLICK HERE to view the declaration
On March 17, 2020, the Alberta government announced additional emergency funding to charities, non-profits and civil society organizations through the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program to support their COVID-19 response.
This funding will be provided immediately and will support social services in enabling social distancing, as well as supports and services for at-risk seniors and families facing homelessness, poverty and social isolation.
This funding is available to stakeholders who are reaching out to those who are most impacted by COVID-19.
To receive the application package, please contact Tracy Proulx at FCSS at email@example.com or call if you have questions, 780-349-5900.
Utility shutoffs have been suspended until further notice. We encourage you to continue making your utility bill payments if you are able to, as this will lessen the financial impact at a later date.
We encourage you to receive your utility bill via e-bill. CLICK HERE for the E-billing registration form. The completed form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 780-349-4436. Should you have any questions, please contact the Town Office.
Also, to assist in lessening your financial burden a little, Council passed a motion on March 23rd, allowing Administration to waive utility penalty fees until July 1, 2020 as well.
Please remember, we are here to help. Should you have any concerns regarding your Town Utility bill, please call us at 780-349-4444.
Amid the COVID-19, the Town is still maintaining essential services.
Although the Town’s Administration office and FCSS office doors are closed to the public, the employees are still hard at work and performing their daily duties.
Administration and FCSS can still be contacted via phone, email, and drop box at the Town Office. We are still here for you! Do not hesitate to call or email us if you have any questions. Our doors are closed for the safety of everyone; to slow or hopefully stop the spread!
A question has been raised about Recycle and Waste pick up for Town residents. GFL is still doing the regularly scheduled pick up for both waste and recycle. Continue to have your recycles and black bins at the curb as you normally would.
We are here for you, let’s just keep our distances and stay healthy!
We are in unprecedented times in our community, nation and the world. We want to assure you as residents and business owners within the Town of Westlock that we are doing everything possible to maintain all essential services through this challenging time.
The following information is some of the steps being taken to mitigate risks within the Town:
- deep cleaning and disinfecting are ongoing at the Westlock Aquatic Centre and Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre. Each room is being thoroughly sanitized and then locked down;
- the Administration and Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) offices are closed to the public, however staff remain working as usual;
- a "work from home” program for office employees is being implemented to minimize risk and to maximize business continuity;
- operations staff have been divided into two workforces, one operating from the public works location and the second operating from the Westlock Aquatic Centre; once again this step is to maintain business continuity;
- the business community has been provided with Alberta Health Services (AHS) messaging posters regarding social distancing and sanitizing practices;
- ongoing updates are posted on the Town’s website and Facebook pages; check often for new initiatives and guidelines;
- the Westlock Community Assistance Bus continues to operate but for medical appointments only.
- Council held a special meeting on Sunday, March 22, 2020 and enacted a "State of Local Emergency (SOLE).” By making the declaration of a SOLE the Town of Westlock is supporting Alberta Health’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Although declaring the SOLE provides the Town with enhanced authority under the Emergency Management Act no additional directives above what Alberta Health currently has in place will be implemented for our businesses or residents at his time. With the situation evolving in the Province on a daily basis, this may change, and we will communicate any changes a required.
- Council at their regular meeting of Council held on Monday, March 23, 2020 passed Consolidated Fees and Rates Bylaw No. 2017-01, Amendment Bylaw 2020-04 which waived "Utility Penalty” charges effective April 1, 2020 and be effective to July 1, 2020.
What does the declaration of a State of Local Emergency mean to the Town of Westlock TODAY?
By making the declaration of a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) the Town of Westlock is supporting Alberta Health’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Although declaring the SOLE provides the Town with enhanced authority under the Emergency Management Act no additional directives above what Alberta Health currently has in place will be implemented for our businesses or residents at this time. With the situation evolving in the Province on a daily basis this may change, and we will communicate any changes as required.
Please ensure you’re keeping up to date with the information located at:
- Alberta Government website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
- Canadian Government website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
As of March 22, Council of the Town of Westlock has declared a State of Local Emergency. In consultation with Alberta Health Services and our local medical community, this decision has not been made lightly but is necessary to ensure that the Town of Westlock has the authority it requires to enforce the Alberta Health recommended COVID-19 control measures within our municipality.
Council would like to convey to our public that this is a precautionary measure. The Town of Westlock has an emergency continuity plan in place to ensure essential services like water, waste-water, fire and administration continue uninterrupted. Council recognizes the seriousness of this unprecedented time and want to convey to our citizens that this is the first step in implementing control measures within our authority to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
There is no cause for panic, Public Health Authorities have created several protocols for people to follow and to slow the spread of COVID-19 and make it manageable for our Medical system, this is a preventive measure to assist that effort. We encourage people to follow the advice they are being provided by our Health Authorities.CLICK HERE to view the declaration for a State of Local Emergency
The Alberta Government is sharing more localized information about COVID-19 cases in our province. This dashboard https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-alberta-data.aspx is updated daily, with a geospatial map outlining regional cases.
The most important information about COVID-19 is not the location of confirmed cases. Social distancing, disinfection of frequently used spaces, and good hygiene are the most important steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your community. If we work together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.
Pre-authorized utility payments and TIPPS tax paymentswill still be processed if you’ve set up this service. If you need to suspend these services, please contact the Town at 780-349-4444. Keep in mind, making regular payments, as small as they may need to be, may be the best option to keep your balances manageable. We’re here to help.
Provincial and Federal Financial Aid
The Government of Alberta announced $50 million in financial support, and key policy changes, to help Albertans affected by COVID-19. Read more here https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-supports-for-albertans.aspx
The Government of Canada announced $27 billion in financial support, as well as additional measures to maintain business liquidity. Read more here https://www.canada.ca/…/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-…
How COVID-19 Spreads
COVID-19 is transmitted through person-to-person spread by:
- larger droplets, like from a cough or sneeze
- touching contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth
COVID-19 is not airborne and cannot spread through the air over long distances or times, like the measles.
Studies suggest that the virus generally only survives for a few hours on a surface, though it may be possible for it to survive several days under ideal conditions.
Tips on How to Prevent the Spread
Take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by practicing good hygiene, social distancing and monitoring symptoms.
- Practice Social Distancing
- Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. It can help you reduce the risk of getting sick.
- This is not the same as self-isolation. You do not need to remain indoors, but you do need to avoid being in close contact with people.
To protect yourself and others:
- keep at least 6 feet (the length of a bicycle) from others when going out for groceries, medical trips and other essential needs
- limit the number of times you leave your home for errands
- try to shop at less busy times
- order online to have groceries or other items delivered if possible
- go for a walk in your neighborhood or park while maintaining distance from others
- avoid overcrowding in elevators or other enclosed spaces
- follow Alberta’s recommendations on mass gatherings
- wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces
Click HERE for more information on Social Distancing
Click HERE to watch a short video on how to Social Distance yourself in a grocery store
Use this self-assessment tool to help determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself or on behalf of someone else, if they are not able.
Click HERE to access the Self-Assessment tool
In addition to the closure of the Westlock Aquatic Centre and Rotary Spirit Centre the Town Office as well as Family and Community Support Services will be closed to the public as of 1 p.m. Monday, March 16 until further notice. All services will still be delivered as normal at this time, other than direct physical contact with Town staff. Services will continue through phone calls, email, facsimile, on-line payments, regular mail and via our drop box at the Town office. The Town of Westlock has an emergency continuity plan in place to ensure essential services continue uninterrupted. The Town is committed to public safety and will be monitoring the situation closely. Please monitor the Town’s website and social media for ongoing updates.
For the most up to date Provincial information please visit alberta.ca/covid19.
Volunteer Income Tax Program
Westlock and District FCSS is currently closed to public access as the safety of our clients and staff is our top priority. We will not be accepting Income Tax returns at this time. We are working on solutions to remedy this issue. Your understanding in this matter is greatly appreciated. Please keep checking in with FCSS on a regular basis for updates at 780-349-5900. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Effective 9:00 PM on Sunday, March 15, the Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre and Aquatic Centre will be temporarily closed to the public. This is a precautionary measure to protect our staff, patrons and community from the spread of COVID-19.
At this time, public health officials maintain the risk of spread is low, but it is crucial to follow the same recommendations during the cold and flu season:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- avoid others who are unwell
- stay home when you are sick
Health information on COVID-19 can be found on the Alberta Health Services website at ahs.ca. AHS’s Health Link service – dial 811 – is also available to offer health advice and information.
Residents are advised that the Town of Westlock has an emergency continuity plan in place to ensure essential services continue uninterrupted. The Town is committed to public safety and will be monitoring the situation closely. Please monitor our website and social media for updates.
Thank you for your understanding and support and we look forward to when we can re-open and again provide fitness and recreational opportunities to our community.
Community Assistance Bus (CAB)
Until further notice and effective immediately, the Community Assistance Bus (CAB) will no longer accept clientele other then those with medical appointments. Clientele will be accepted by appointment only. All appointments must be booked at least 24-hours in advance. Clientele with a cough or fever will also not be accepted.
Thank you for your understanding regarding this matter, as we all try to stay safe and well!
Places of Worship
Places of worship are no longer exempt from the recommended restrictions on mass gatherings. Public health officials continue to recommend that all mass gatherings of 250 people or more are cancelled, and this now includes worship gatherings. Any event that has more than 50 attendees and expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations, should also be cancelled.
Events that do not meet these criteria can proceed at this time, but risk mitigation must be in place, such as enforcing distancing of one to two metres between attendees and using sanitizer stations.
From the Province of Alberta
All licensed child care, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs in Alberta are closed at this time, as well. Approved day homes are exempt because they care for fewer than seven children at a time. These programs are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation practices.
More Information from the Province
COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta News Update from the Province of Alberta
Effective immediately, students will no longer be attending classes in K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions until further notice. Post-secondary campuses will still remain open, but classes are cancelled. School authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of school facilities. Maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities and administrative will will continue.