50 ave in Wetaskiwin is busy with afternoon traffic following the province’s Phase One reopening of certain business sectors including restaurants, retail and hair salons. Photo by Shaela Dansereau.

What you can and can’t do around Wetaskiwin this May long weekend

Alberta’s Phase One of re-openings came just before the long weekend.

Although large group celebrations are still prohibited across the province amidst COVID-19 for the May long weekend, Phase One of re-openings has been initiated.

Phase One began Thursday, May 14 and across the majority of the province retail stores, restaurants and salons, daycares, art galleries, museums, summer camps and farmers market are all eligible to reopen.

These sectors are eligible to reopen given they follow strict regulations in regards to capacity and cleanliness.

Playgrounds in Wetaskiwin and area will not be open for the long weekend. Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam received information from the government stating that Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services recommend that playground equipment not be accessible to the public at this time.

There are no further details when playgrounds in the municipality will be able to reopen.

The Wetaskiwin Lions Campground is one business opening their gates to the public for the long weekend.

Campground Manager Inez Dryer says that the campground is open, but will have new regulations in place to reduce contact and spread of the coronavirus.

The campground is only renting out every second spot to maintain distance among campers in addition to requiring campers to maintain social distancing protocols throughout the campground.

All common areas including playgrounds, shared fire-pits, bathrooms and showers will remain closed. Campers will be required to bring their own garbage to the dumpster, and there will be no tenting allowed. All campers will have to have a fully serviced unit to stay at the campground.

Provincial Park camping such as the Pigeon Lake Campground will not be available for camping during May long weekend. Day use is permitted with outhouse facilities open where feasible; however, you must bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Provincial campgrounds will open June 1 at 50 per cent capacity.

There is currently a fire ban at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park, but not in the Wetaskiwin and Millet area.

While restaurants have been given the go-ahead by the province to open with regulations as of Thursday, some like Huckleberry’s Café in Wetaskiwin will not reopen until after the long weekend.

Chef N’ Pigeon Lake restaurant in the Village at Pigeon Lake is has reopened its dining room as of the start of Phase One. Chef Nathan Zukiwski says the restaurant, although running at 50 per cent capacity with social distanced tables that maintain a 2 metre distance, is open from 12-8 p.m.

The Chef N’ Pigeon Lake is following all Government of Alberta COVID-19 reopening regulations including having all servers wear masks while working.

Although these businesses are eligible to reopen, Dr. Deena Hinshaw and the Alberta Government urge Albertans to continue taking caution and reduce time spent in public spaces.

It is still prohibited to gather in groups of more than 15 throughout the province.

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