The Town of Hinton Declares State of Local Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
For immediate release
April 2, 2020
The Town of Hinton has declared a state of local emergency at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2020 to further support provincial efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. By declaring a state of local emergency, the Town can access resources needed to address a potential outbreak within the community, as well as enforce additional restrictions and closures required to contain the spread.
The well-being of our community members and Town staff remains our top priority, and this declaration is the next step the Town must take in order to effectively manage this public health event. Declaring a state of local emergency is a legislated process allowing the municipality to act swiftly if needed in order to prevent the spread of the virus in Hinton. The state of local emergency is in effect for 7 days, at which time it can be rescinded, amended, or renewed.
Following Alberta Health Services’ recommendations, the Town of Hinton has also taken the following measures and restrictions within our community. These measures will have an impact on our local businesses, but are intended to support safe operations and the ability to seek compliance from customers.
- Grocery Stores or Department Stores are limited to 50 customers per store at any given time.
- To support the grocery and departments stores in following this new occupancy limit, customers are encouraged to reduce the number of people shopping per household, and to avoid bringing children to the store, whenever possible.
- Following AHS recommendations, all hard surface frequently touched by staff and customers including shopping cart and basket handles, debit/credit machines and keypads must be disinfected after every use.
- Items or areas including conveyor belts, shelves, door handles, and public washrooms must be cleaned and disinfected at minimum every 4 hours.
- Only every other check-out line is permitted to be open on a rotating base. For customer assistance in physical distancing, tape indicating a 2 metre distance must be applied to the floor 2 metres apart for separation when lining up at the check out. Disinfecting wipes for customers must be provided for carts and tills at checkouts and self-checkout stations.
- After the store has closed to the public for the day, a full cleaning of the store must be completed.
- Buffet style self-service for food is not permitted.
- Signage reminding customers to only handle, or touch produce they are purchasing is recommended.
- All open buildings or businesses deemed “essential services” are limited to 7 customers per store at any given time.
- All open buildings or businesses deemed “essential services” to the public must disinfect shopping carts, baskets, debit/credit machines, and any other hard surface after every use, and complete a full cleaning of the store at the close of the store.
- Social distancing will be enforced as per the 2m distance from Alberta Health Services.
- Loitering/occupying outdoor public spaces is not permitted for groups of more than 5 people and social distancing of 2m will be enforced.
- Parking lots for municipal parks are temporarily closed until further notice. The Town is encouraging residents to recreate in areas accessible without the use of a motor vehicle. Walking, hiking, biking is still permitted on town trails with proper social distancing.
Measures that have already been taken by the Town of Hinton in municipal response to COVID-19 that will continue to be in effect include:
- Activation of the Town of Hinton Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)
- Closure of all Town buildings to the public (essential services are being maintained)
- Postponing or cancelling all Town events until further notice
- Enhanced cleaning protocols in all Town facilities and public vehicles (including Town Transit)
- Protecting staff that must remain at work by implementing precautions such as cleaning high touch areas twice a day and utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Imposing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for all staff who have recently returned from travel and 10-day self-isolation for anyone who has symptoms