Update #15 | GPREP Prepares for Business Relaunch

The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership has renewed the State of Local Emergency in all six partner municipalities for another week.

Since the Province’s release of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy on April 30, the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP) has shifted its focus to help support local businesses as they prepare to re-open as early as May 14, 2020.

“Last week, we launched the Business Ambassador Team to support local businesses through the re-opening of our economy, starting with essential services,” said Dan Lemieux, Director of Emergency Management. “The team has already connected with 91 local businesses and is working to contact each business in the GPREP service area to help them through the transition of re-opening their doors and understanding what additional measures they will need to take.”

Stage 1 of the Province’s relaunch strategy allows for several businesses to re-open, including retail businesses, some personal services such as hair salons and barber shops, museums and art galleries, daycares, and restaurants and bars. However, the Province requires enhanced infection prevention and control measures to be in place first in order to protect the public.

“Although businesses will be able to start to re-open, it isn’t going to be business as usual,” said Lemieux. “Before they can open, businesses will need to be able to accommodate effective social distancing as well as proper sanitation and personal hygiene to help mitigate risks of infection.”

On May 3, the Province released the Workplace Guidance for Business Owners, which outlines the criteria businesses will need to have in place prior to re-opening or continuing operations. The document includes information on COVID-19 communications, dealing with sick staff and volunteers, and prevention measures including cleaning and disinfecting and personal protective equipment.

“It is important for everyone to remember that we are still in the response phase of this pandemic and we will continue to be until there is a vaccine available for the general public,” said Lemieux. “We have to continue to be vigilant and practice social distancing and proper cleaning and hygiene for the foreseeable future to prevent an outbreak. If an outbreak does occur in our region, we can expect the Province to reinstate previous restrictions including business closures.”

Anyone looking for information and support to prepare for re-opening and are interested in speaking to a Business Ambassador can email business@gprepeoc.com.

Businesses should use the Government of Alberta website www.alberta.ca/covid19 as their primary source of information on the government’s response and health measures, including the reopening strategy and workplace guidance information.