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Mayor Nenshi cautiously optimistic strict COVID-19 measures will be imposed

Last Updated Nov 24, 2020 at 6:24 am MDT

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks to media at city hall as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and speculation grows about a possible lockdown in Alberta. Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — With the promise of additional restrictions coming on Tuesday to help Alberta combat a rapid spread of COVID-19, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is hopeful that the provincial government will show resolve.

“The Government of Alberta needs to take bold action, and they need to do so right away,” he said outside the Council Chambers on Monday afternoon. “There’s no way we’re going to have a miraculous drop in the numbers in the next two or three days, and we run the real risk of overwhelming the health care system, of running out of ICU beds.”

Nenshi said it is frustrating that there has seemingly been no direction to the province’s thinking on approaching the pandemic. We still don’t know exactly where most of the cases are coming from since the contact tracing system broke down.

“We don’t have the data. So we have to look at data from other jurisdictions to see how things are changing there, and ultimately make the decision based on that,” Nenshi said.

There has been a lot of concern about what would happen to local businesses if a lockdown is imposed, with many business owners already struggling due to fewer customers, higher costs, and other issues.

But Nenshi said in his conversations, there’s an understanding that a lot more is at stake if nothing is done.

“I wouldn’t even say the majority. I would say unanimously they have said do the circuit breaker now,” he said. “If you do it now, then at least we have a chance of retrieving some part of our Christmas shopping season. If you wait too long and the lockdown continues through Christmas, that’s really devastating.”

He also added that the City of Calgary is not considering any additional restrictions right now, and we will still have to wait until after the province announces any changes.

The mayor is still cautious, and by no means does he have a crystal ball that can determine what exactly will be announced, but there’s also a lot of confusion about how the province has decided how it wants to address the pandemic while we are in the midst of a second wave.

“It’s completely opaque. We have a plan that the province put out in the summer, but they’re clearly not following it anymore in terms of what triggers will lead to what actions. So, it’s completely opaque. I’m not sure they know how they’re making decisions or what decisions they want to make.”