City of Lethbridge announces new measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission

The City of Lethbridge announced some significant changes to its transit and parks operations on Monday as part of new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

They include the suspension of all Lethbridge Transit fares until further notice to help limit contact between drivers and riders.

The city is asking customers to use transit for essential travel only and when they do, riders must enter and exit the bus from the rear door.

Transit users with special mobility or accessibility needs will still be allowed to use the forward door.

“We’re going to do better as a community throughout this crisis if people begin taking preventative steps right now,” said Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman.

The city also announced changes to its parks operations Monday.

The parks themselves, along with pathways, are still open, but the amenities within them are off limits. That includes playground equipment, benches, picnic shelters and tables, fire pits, washrooms and fitness equipment.

In addition, a fire ban has been put in place for the Lethbridge river valley to encourage social distancing.

“The next few weeks are going to be crucial,” Spearman said. “How we’re going to be impacted depends on how each and every one of us responds.”

“Typically, in an emergency, we’ll see a fire, we’ll see a flood, but with a virus, we don’t see it and we need to start understanding that this is a serious problem and we will put many many citizens at risk if we don’t start practicing all these pieces that are being laid out for us,” said Marc Rathwell, the city’s director of emergency management.

On Monday, the city said residents facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will have the option to defer their utility payments for up to 90 days.

Anyone requiring a deferral is asked to contact the 311 call centre.

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