COVID-19 UPDATES

 
May 22, 2020
 
 
 
May 15, 2020
 
 Opening of Outdoor Spaces
 
 

May 11, 2020 
Property Tax and Utility Deferral Information

We recognize that individuals have lost their jobs and many businesses had to close their doors or reduce their hours due to COVID-19.  Some businesses are just starting to re-think about opening their doors again, while for some, it may still be a while yet.

In order to support those struggling financially, Town Council has made some adjustments to both the Utility and Property Tax invoices.

Utility Bills

Council amended the Fees and Rates Bylaw to allow for no late payment fees on utility accounts and no disconnection of services until July 1, 2020. 

You will still receive a utility bill, however if you are unable to pay the entire amount by the due date, you will not be penalized.  Penalties for non-payment of utility bills will resume on July 2, 2020. 

 Property Tax

Council also passed a bylaw to move the Property Tax due date.  In previous years, the due date for your property taxes was June 30th.  To allow ratepayers additional time, this year’s due date is July 30th, 2020.  If you are unable to meet this deadline, we recommend that you sign up for the monthly TIPPS program.  This is a Tax Installment Payment Plan, whereby you can pay your taxes on a set monthly amount.  If you are not already on this program, and would like to be set up, please contact the Town Office at 780-349-4444 for more information.

Along with the extended due date, the penalty enforcement dates have also been adjusted.  You will have until end of day on August 31st to either pay your taxes in full or get set up on a payment plan to avoid a late payment penalty fee.

 Reminder,

These are deferrals, not forgiveness of utility services and property taxes, it is recommended that these options only be used if needed. The intent is to provide flexibility for those financially impacted by COVID-19. Those taxpayers who are able to continue to pay their utilities and taxes on schedule, are strongly encouraged to do so which will support municipal operations during these challenging times.

 

The municipality must still maintain essential services like water, sewer, waste, recycle and organics collection, fire and emergency services and key infrastructure maintenance operating. It is with the payment of utility bills and property taxes that keep these services going.

Please contact the Town Office at 780-349-4444 should you want to discuss being set up on a payment plan.


 
 May 7, 2020
 

The Alberta Government announced their relaunch strategy plan on April 30th.

Where does your business fit within the relaunch plan?  Those details can be found here:  https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx

 The provincial government also released a COVID-19 Workplace Guidance for business owners.  This document lists what businesses are required to follow as they either continue to be open for business or will be re-opening their doors for business as part of the relaunch strategy.  

The COVID-19 Workplace Guidance for business owners can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-workplace-guidance-for-business-owners.pdf

As always, the Alberta Government continues to post COVID-19 updates at: www.alberta.ca/covid  Stay informed!


May 4, 2020
 Province Relaunch


May 1, 2020
 

The Government of Alberta has released their plan for reopening our province. As a result, the Town of Westlock did not renew the State of Local Emergency.

You can find the province’s plan here: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx

Please note that the current provincial restrictions on business and public gatherings have not YET changed. You will see in the plan that the majority of business will have to wait until "at least” May 14, meaning that date is not fixed.

The plan includes what measures must be met before opening and it notes that "each stage of relaunch will depend on our ability to keep infection rates low…”  The Premier explicitly noted that the "plan can and will change” based on ongoing health circumstances.

The Town will follow the Province’s guidance in this reopening, and we look forward to understanding what the province means by taking a "localized approach” to reopening.

A couple of tips to remember:

  • Although some of the closure restrictions are being lifted, the group gathering of a maximum of 15 people is still in place.
  • Physical distancing is still in place.  Stay a minimum of 2 metres apart from those you do not live with.
  • Continue to wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly and often.
  • If you show any signs of illness, stay home.
  • Non-essential travel is still not recommended.  Try to keep your outings to a minimum.

You have a personal responsibility to monitor yourself.  If you feel uncomfortable with people around you, then remove yourself from the surroundings.

Some restrictions may be lifting, but we still need to be diligent.


 April 27, 2020

No Garage Sales 

 

April 23, 2020

Renewal of the State of Local Emergency/Garage Sales / Community Gardens

 

Due to the actions we’ve taken; we’ve put ourselves in a position where we have only seen two COVID-19 cases reported within the Westlock region.  We need to remember that a single case can spread rapidly if people do not continue to follow the recommendations of physical distancing and hygiene.

Now is not the time to get complacent about restrictions on mass gathering and physical distancing.  We need to stay on course.  Take the public health requirements seriously and be responsible. We will beat this if we stay on course.

With that being said, on April 23rd Westlock Town Council renewed the State of Local Emergency for another seven days.

 Garage Sales

To slow the spread of COVID-19, garage sales are not permitted to operate at this time.    

Garage sales encourage public gathering and physical closeness as people browse on driveways or confined spaces.  Dealing with cash handling and the touching and handling of used goods provide an opportunity for surface disease transfer. 

Community Gardens

Community Gardens provide a source of food security for many families, support wellness and promote a sense of community.

The Community Garden is permitted, provided physical distancing of maximum 15 people and a minimum of 2 metre distance between individuals at all time, and hygiene practices are followed.

 CLICK HERE to view the renewal of the State of Local Emergency.

 


April 17, 2020

Closure of Outdoor spaces 

 


 April 16, 2020

The Town of Westlock is extending the state of local emergency.

As the spring weather is approaching, people are wanting to get out and enjoy the fresh air. You can do that; however please remember the importance of maintaining appropriate physical distancing, a minimum of 2 metres.  

As the weather is warming up, adults and children want to get out and enjoy the weather.  We encourage you to enjoy the outdoors close to your home and to be active in less populated areas.

As a precaution, the Town has chosen to keep the playground structure areas closed, this includes the Tennis Courts and the Skateboard park.

In keeping with the guidelines and recommendations of Alberta Health and the Province of Alberta, these outdoor areas will continue to remain closed to keep everyone healthy.

CLICK HERE to view the renewal of the State of Local Emergency. 
 

 April 15, 2020
 

 April 9, 2020
 
State of Local Emergency (SOLE) Renewed 
 
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 appreciate that Alberta Health and the Provincial Government are 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
 

 
April 9, 2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 Please CLICK HERE to access the survey!
 

 
April 3, 2020 
 
State of Local Emergency (SOLE) Renewed  

 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

 

 
April 1, 2020 
 
Thank you note 

 
March 31, 2020
 
Are you a Small Business wondering requiring some clarification regarding Essential Services?
 
Here are a few Q&A's provided by the Alberta Government:
 

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?

 

A:         The Essential Services List can be found here and the list of business, workplace, and facility closures can be found here

 

            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.

            Business, workplace and facility closures 

 

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: bizconnect@gov.ab.ca (Note this account will be monitored actively after Monday, March 30) 


 
Mach 29, 2020
 
Council has renewed the State of Local Emergency

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 
 

 
March 27, 2020
 
Important new Information just released by the Alberta Government, CLICK HERE to read it. 

 
March 27, 2020 
 
Can your organization help individuals, seniors, families, who are isolated or impacted by COVID-19?

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 tproulx@westlock.ca or call if you have questions, 780-349-5900.

 Additional information can be found HERE
 

March 25, 2020
 
Are you concerned about your Town of Westlock Utility Bill?
 
 

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 finance@westlock.ca 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.

 

March 24, 2020
 
 

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!


 
What's the Town been up to?
 

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 Actions:

  •  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. 
 

 
March 23, 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:

 

 
March 22, 2020

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 
 
 

March 21, 2020
 
Local COVID-19 Information Update from the Town of Westlock 

 

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-…

 

 

 
March 20, 2020
 

How COVID-19 Spreads

COVID-19 is transmitted through person-to-person spread by:

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.

To protect yourself and others:

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  

 

Self Assessment

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

 

 
March 16, 2020
Office Closures 

The safety of our ratepayers and staff is top priority so in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Town has taken immediate action based on Alberta Health Services’ recommendations.

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.

 

Facility Closures

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.

For More Information Visit the Province of Alberta Website

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.