A ‘stay at home’ measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t being put in place across the RMWB at this time.
Wood Buffalo council held an emergency meeting on Friday to debate a motion that included potential local steps to help stop the spread of the virus.
After several hours of listening to delegates and debate, council voted against implementing the ‘stay at home’ measure. Councillors Sheila Lalonde, Keith McGrath, Phil Meagher, Verna Murphy, Jeff Peddle, and Claris Voyageur all voting against.
Murphy says we’re not in a position where we need to take matters into our own hands.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint – we need to be in alignment with the province and Chief Medical Officer and just stay the course.”
If approved, residents would have still be allowed outside and access essential services.
Murphy, Meagher, and McGrath argued the motion would not change anything across Wood Buffalo and would only cause unnecessary panic.
“From what I’m seeing, this was developed by people who were elected – we’re not health professionals and when did we become pandemic experts,” added Meagher. “This to me smacks in the face of fear mongering to our residents.”
Several delegates spoke in favour and against the motion.
Some argued that the virus is unpredictable and every measure should be taken, while others noted we need to continue following the measures taken by Alberta Health Services.
Meanwhile, the motion also included 16 other points.
Mayor Scott, who brought forward the motion, dropped steps that would have closed non-essential services, ask AHS to confirm all the confirmed cases in the RMWB, and have any who travels to the region self-isolate for 14 days. He noted work by the province had cleared up any issues.
Council did pass several additional measures.
This includes having businesses abide by all AHS regulations, promoting the Vulnerable Persons Registry, looking into deferring property taxes, encouraging the provincial government to look into support for renters, working directly with Indigenous leaders, and more.