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Posted on: February 9, 2022

COVID vaccine proof removed from Town of Banff programs

Fenlands Screening News

The Town of Banff is reviewing the Government of Alberta’s phased plan announced late February 8 to remove its COVID-19 restrictions, starting with the Restriction Exemption Program (REP), and the implications for Town programs and facilities, and for Banff residents, businesses and visitors.

 Starting today (February 9), the removal of the provincial REP means proof of vaccination or a negative test will no longer be required to enter facilities offering Town of Banff programs, such as those at The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre or afternoon programming at the Banff Elementary School. As required by the Province, all patrons entering the facilities must screen for COVID symptoms. The Town will also continue to monitor compliance with the masking requirement inside Town facilities.

 The provincial phased plan and the COVID situation in Banff is an item on the agenda for the next (February 14) meeting of Banff Town Council. 

 Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno provided the following comments in response to the announcement:

I understand and share the desire to move towards normalcy, but I am surprised at the speed with which health measures are being removed, when Alberta – and Banff – has only recently crested the huge wave of this highly contagious Omicron variant. Since March 2020, Banff residents, businesses and visitors have been so diligent with all restrictions and safety protocols, we must not jeopardize our community’s safety now by acting too hastily. 

 We are still in a pandemic. The virus can still disrupt lives and livelihoods. I implore all residents and visitors to get the maximum doses of vaccine available to them. Health data has proven vaccines significantly reduce the risk of death or hospitalization from COVID.

 Thankfully, here in Banff, our wastewater data indicates positive cases continue a dramatic downward trend, showing the restrictions have worked.

 The health and safety of residents, employees and visitors remains the top priority for Council and our staff. In the past, we implemented measures to help stop the spread of COVID when Banff's active cases were high, but each situation was different. Today, we have vaccines available for those 5 and up, a high vaccination rate in Banff/ID9, and a world that is reopening. At this stage, it may be unwise to use municipal health measures that deviate from provincial measures, but it is not off the table, and we will not hesitate to once again advocate to the province for meaningful action, if the safety of our community is at risk.

 Finally, despite the lack of notice, I praise our Town staff for being prepared to lift the REP measures, and implement oversights that keep our programs, facilities and patrons safe.

 For details on the provincial changes and the Banff situation, visit banff.ca/COVID

The Government of Alberta phased plan to lift restrictions is available at:
https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx 

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