Calgary’s municipal emergency plan remains activated as Omicron cases surge

Mayor Jyoti Gondek and the chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency update Calgarians on the city’s COVID response

By Krista Sylvester | January 6, 2022 |5:00 am

The city of Calgary is keeping its municipal emergency plan activated as the city deals with the fifth wave of the pandemic.

Photo: Krista Sylvester

“Omicron is again throwing another curveball at the city.”

Those were the words from Susan Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), who joined Mayor Jyoti Gondek in updating Calgarians on the city’s response to the pandemic Wednesday morning. 

“With the highly transmissible Omicron variant on the rise, we must do everything we can to continue to protect ourselves, each other, and the healthcare system,” Henry says.

Two COVID-related bylaws will also remain in effect; there is still a mandate for Calgarians to wear a face-covering or mask in indoor public spaces and public vehicles, and businesses still need to require proof of vaccination from patrons. 

How the city’s services and programs are impacted 

Gondek says the city’s position is that vaccination and masks are critical in the fight against COVID during this fifth wave of the pandemic fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. 

“I cannot stress enough how important that is,” Gondek says.  

While 93% of city employees are fully vaccinated, the fifth wave is taking its toll on employees getting infected and it’s resulting in some city services being impacted.  

“The sharp rise in cases means more sickness and more absences among our city staff,” Henry says, noting the police department has taken the biggest hit. 

As such, some city programs and services have been altered, with recreation programs facing a reduction of services. 

Public skate times have been cancelled until further notice at all city-operated arenas except Village Square Leisure Centre and Southland Leisure Centre, while the city’s winter swim lessons have been postponed until Jan. 10. 

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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