‘Ready, willing and able:’ Edmonton Expo Centre to soon open as mass COVID-19 vaccination site

The Edmonton Expo Centre will soon be opening as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.

Edmonton city manager Andre Corbould told councillors Wednesday morning that Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be making an announcement shortly about its intentions to use the site and an opening date hasn’t been determined. The 522,000-square-foot facility is the largest conference centre in Western Canada and Corbould said this will allow for up to thousands of residents to be vaccinated daily and can run until October if necessary.

The city will be providing financial support to the vaccination site with up to $1.3 million if the site is open until October, which Corbould said would be unlikely. Full financial implications, as well as other expected COVID-19 costs, will be presented to council April 19. Transportation may also be provided if needed. AHS will fund the health operations and staffing of the site.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

“We are ready, willing and able to accommodate and support rapid flow through vaccination,” Corbould said. “If additional transportation planning, traffic signage or other services are needed from the city to accommodate, we are ready to do that as well.”

Alberta is currently in Phase 2B of the vaccine rollout, allowing for those between the ages of 16 and 64 with eligible underlying health conditions to book their first shot. As of Monday, 734,403 vaccine doses have been distributed across the province.

Mayor Don Iveson said he is supportive of the use of the Expo Centre which has served several purposes already in the city’s pandemic response.

“This will add significantly to Alberta Health Services’ capacity to deliver those vaccines and we are happy to help,” he said. “The Expo Centre throughout this crisis has symbolized the ongoing and collaborative working relationship between the city and Alberta Health Services. Just as the facility offered much-needed space to our most vulnerable at the start of the pandemic, it will soon be the pathway out of COVID-19 for many Edmontonians.”

New restrictions announced Tuesday[3] moving the province back into the first step of reopening prompted the city to close four of its recreation centres that were just opened about a month ago. Low-intensity individual fitness and aquatic activities are no longer permitted and the city has cancelled its one-on-one personal training program until further notice even though that is allowed to continue under the current measures.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

City arenas, the Kinsmen Sports Centre and the St. Francis Xavier Sports Centre will remain open for youth sport and school group rentals that continue to be allowed.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s outdoor attractions will remain open, including paying a visit to the new baby camel. The Victoria Driving Range will also continue to be open as the city plans to open its three golf courses in the coming weeks. Corbould said the city is also exploring its summer programming, including outdoor pools and spray parks, but are still in discussions with AHS as to when they will be permitted.

All 21 Edmonton Public Library branches were also forced to close as of Wednesday as a result of the restrictions after reopening March 15.

The city issued 11 $100 fines for violation of the mask bylaw between March 29 and April 4, the city said in its enforcement update Wednesday. There were 110 warnings given under the bylaw and 19 warnings for violations of public health orders.

duscook@postmedia.com[4]

twitter.com/dustin_cook3 [5]

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines[6] for more information and details on how to adjust your email[7] settings.

References

  1. ^ Local News (edmontonjournal.com)
  2. ^ (edmontonjournal.com)
  3. ^ restrictions announced Tuesday (edmontonjournal.com)
  4. ^ duscook@postmedia.com (edmontonjournal.com)
  5. ^ twitter.com/dustin_cook3  (twitter.com)
  6. ^ Community Guidelines (pages.postmedia.com)
  7. ^ email (pages.postmedia.com)