The fate of Red Deer’s Ross Street Patio, as well as opening dates for the city’s museum and public library, are expected to be known later this month.
While the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Royal Alberta Museum have already announced imminent re-openings (on May 22 and May 16, respectively), there’s no date yet for the reopening of the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.
Karen Mann, director of the City of Red Deer’s emergency operations centre, said many things are still under consideration.
Among them are how the museum can run various arts programs and summer day camps within a relatively small space, while providing adequate room for social distancing.
Public libraries were excluded from the government’s first phase of the economic relaunch, but are going to be part of the second phase, expected to start in mid-June.
Mann said libraries contain many shared resources, including computers. They are open to anyone, so patron numbers are difficult to control, and two local libraries are also connected to a recreation centre or schools.
This means having to implement a number of different health protocols before reopening, added Mann.
“There will be multiple guidelines to follow.”
While the City of Edmonton is encouraging restaurants to set up outdoor patios to allow their customers to spread out and sit beyond the indoor confines of their dining areas, Red Deer’s Ross Street Patio has not yet been set up.
Mann said city officials are looking at ways that the patio could be configured to allow more space for social distancing. She added there’s also the provincial stipulation of no social gatherings of more than 15 people to plan for.
The downtown patio usually has picnic tables where people can eat their lunches, or sit and enjoy scheduled live entertainment.
While it could attract more people to struggling downtown businesses, Mann said it’s been difficult to balance the need for economic recovery with adhering to the “stringent” health guidelines the province has set out to reduce cases of COVID-19.
She expects an announcement about the patio to be made next week, and about the museum and library’s reopenings in the coming weeks.