Banff declares a state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

The Town of Banff has declared a state of local emergency as Alberta attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The declaration gives the town the authority to impose restrictions on local businesses and organizations.

In a news release Tuesday, the town said effective immediately, all gatherings are limited to less than 50 people, including employees and customers.

In addition, the town is imposing restrictions on properties to limit the capacity to 50 per cent of their fire load occupancy, up to 50 people.

Officials explained these measures were being taken to help ensure social distancing, and does not include grocery stores, transit, retail, pharmacies and health facilities.

However, officials said Banff night clubs will be forced to close their dance floors until further notice.

In a news release, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen acknowledged these changes will impact Banff’s tourism industry, but said they are critical to stopping the spreading of COVID-19.

“The decisions today were not taken lightly,” she said.

“Banff is a community built on the hospitality industry.

We know this will have a significant impact on businesses in town. But we have been in close contact with many establishments who agree that this is the right choice to put the safety of the people in our community as our top priority.”

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