Over the past few weeks, the City of Red Deer has hosted seven meetings to better understand the questions and concerns of downtown property owners.  (File photo by Advocate staff)

City of Red Deer to discuss changes to COVID-19 immunization policy for council

The City of Red Deer will discuss changes to its COVID-19 vaccine policy for council.

Earlier this year, the city adopted an immunization policy that applied to City Council and volunteers appointed to Council boards and committees.

In a statement on Friday, the city said that policy was designed to mirror a similar policy that applied to city staff.

“As a City Council, we have our own immunization policy and any changes to that policy would need to be discussed and decided upon at a Council meeting. With our intent to be consistent with staff, City Council will bring this topic to the table in short order to decide on the future of our policy,” read the statement.

The city also said as council members are welcomed back to in-person meetings, precautions are still in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We will also aim to take a cautious approach. Moving back into Council Chambers is something we are all looking forward to, but will do so with safety top of mind,” read the statement.

“Council Chambers, which is on the second floor of City Hall in downtown Red Deer, has been equipped with safety features to support safe distancing, like plexiglass and capacity limits, but we can’t wait to welcome public, staff and media back to chambers, as well as be able to speak to our Council colleagues in person.”

On Thursday, the city also announced it would suspend its COVID-19 policy for city staff.

Since implementing the policy, 92.5 per cent of City staff provided proof of full immunization, the remaining 7.5 per cent chose to provide ongoing proof of negative rapid antigen testing, according to a release.

With the suspension of the policy, ongoing rapid antigen testing is not required. However, the city will continue to encourage immunization recommendations made by the provincial and federal governments, including getting booster shots.

As of Monday, internal masking requirements for city staff are also lifted, unless required for specific jobs or worksites. City workers can also continue to make the personal choice to wear a mask.