Update on closures, cancellations and re-openings

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a host of local closures, cancellations, and postponements of activities in the Battlefords.

With the pandemic curve flattening in Saskatchewan and businesses being allowed to re-open in phases of Re-Open Saskatchewan, the situation continues to change daily. The following is a listing of local offices and businesses that are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, as well as the latest updates on where things stand with re-openings.

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City of North Battleford:

North Battleford City Hall closed to the public Monday, March 23. Residents are being asked to conduct any city business either by phone or online.

The city is now conducting council meetings electronically through the ZOOM platform.

On Tuesday March 17 the city announced it was closing the Battlefords Co-op Aquatic Centre, the NationsWEST Field House, the Civic Centre and Don Ross Arena and programs at Allen Sapp Gallery and Chapel Gallery effective March 18.

City of North Battleford Leisure Services-run programming and classes are postponed.

There is no public access to North Battleford Fire Hall, the Water Treatment Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Waste Management Facility will remain open.

Effective March 24 all the city’s outdoor playgrounds as well as school playgrounds closed.

Town of Battleford:

The Town of Battleford closed access to all of its offices effective Monday, March 23, to protect the town’s staff and the public from the spread of COVID-19. Normal services will be carried out with modifications, and the public is urged to call the relevant department with your request or 306-937-6200. Some renovations are being done at Town Hall to facilitate COVID-19 restrictions.

Town council meetings have moved to an online format, with limited attendance of officials at Town Hall.

Effective midnight, March 20 the following facilities closed indefinitely: Battleford Arena, the archery range and Alex Dillabough Centre.

Effective March 25 all playgrounds in Battleford closed until further notice.

Other facilities, museums and businesses:

The North Battleford Public Library closed indefinitely Friday, March 20. Library re-openings are included in Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan.

Capitol Theatre: The theatre closed Tuesday, March 17, however it is open for popcorn sales. Cinema re-openings are included in Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan, however drive-ins are allowed as of May 15.

Gutters Bowling and Game Centre announced on March 17 their closure on a temporary basis.

Western Development Museum: All locations closed including North Battleford, effective Tuesday, March 17.

Gold Eagle Casino: Was closed for two weeks beginning March 16; remains closed indefinitely. 

Destination Battlefords and Battlefords River Valley Visitor Centre closed effective March 17 until further notice.

Education:

All classes in Saskatchewan from pre-K to Grade 12 were suspended indefinitely March 20. Teachers, school administrators and support staff in Living Sky and Light of Christ Catholic school divisions are on “pause” until March 27.

North West College opened for limited services only and operated as such to April 5. Students have been contacted regarding the status of their individual programs. The college was implementing alternative delivery options where possible effective March 23.

Courts:

Latest word is of easing of some restrictions beginning June 1.

Legislature:

The legislature in Regina is scheduled to resume June 15 with presentation of the Budget. The sitting will run three weeks to July 3, with one day off for Canada Day. Attendance of MLAs is restricted to 10 government and five opposition members.

Riding offices:

The Lloydminster-based office for Rosemarie Falk, MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster is not accepting in-person meetings; her team continues to be available by email at rosemarie.falk@parl.gc.ca, and by telephone at 306-825-5005.

Other services:

The Battlefords Humane Society is limiting access to the animal shelter for the protection of staff and the public. Access will be limited to adoption clients, intake customers and scheduled volunteers. 

All SARCAN Recycling locations across Saskatchewan, including North Battlefordhave closed as of Saturday March 21. A re-open date has been announced of June 15.

Latest update for the Boys and Girls Club of the Battlefords: they continues to remain closed to the general public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Office staff continue to come into the office to serve the public via telephone and email. Their Pandemic Support Service is still available to all registered members to provide essential items such as bagged snacks and bagged meals on a take out basis.

Battlefords District Food and Resource Centre remains open to distribute food hampers Monday to Friday 9:15- 12 noon. Office hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. If the door is locked call 306-937-5505. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic they have cancelled their free income tax programs.

Transit services:

Battlefords Handi-Bus has been temporarily shut down because of the COVID-19 virus effective March 25.

North Battleford Public Transit has implemented service reductions. The schedule is Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with only one bus running on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Event cancellations:

The Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts closed as of 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20 and remains closed until further notice.

Gold Eagle Event Centre; all events scheduled for the 30-day period beginning March 14 are postponed. Pride of the Northwest finals scheduled for March 21 have been postponed to a later date, as yet undetermined. Casinos are included in Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan.

The spring production for Cochin Community Players, The Cemetery Club, originally scheduled for April, has been postponed to the fall. Dates to be determined.

Rotary Club of the Battlefords has postponed its “Out of this World” Centennial Celebration events from its scheduled April 24 date and it has been rescheduled to Oct. 9. All previous details about the event will remain the same, with the only change being the new date.

Battlefords Ag Society has announced that North West Territorial Days scheduled for August has been cancelled.

Postponed are two earlier events: Kick’in it up at the Evening Out scheduled for March 21 has been postponed. Agrimex, the annual trade show scheduled for April 3 and 4, is also postponed.

The Battleford parade and fireworks have been cancelled.

There is no word as of yet regarding the North Battleford International Street Performer Festival.

Kiwanis Music Festival scheduled for March 24-April 5 has been cancelled.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Battlefords Bowl for Kids Sake 2020 scheduled for March 29 at Gutters was postponed.

All Chamber on Tap events scheduled for this summer have been postponed. The Chamber’s annual golf challenge scheduled for Jackfish Lake has been cancelled.

There is no word yet on whether Battlefords Business Excellence Awards remains on the schedule for October.

Battlefords Regional Community Coalition luncheon event featuring Brett Wilson, scheduled for April 3 at Tropical Inn, postponed until further notice.

The following Chapel Gallery events have been postponed: 

The exhibition of local artist Evelyn Campbell has been postponed to the fall/winter of 2020. The Hazee Youth Art Awards have been postponed to fall/winter 2020 and the Hazee Youth Art Exhibition has been shortened to one week in the fall. The Battleford Art Club exhibition, slated for June, is also postponed to the fall/winter. Todd Gronsdahl’s exhibition The Saskatchewan Maritime Museum, is available to exhibit as soon as Chapel Gallery reopens. Local artist Lynn Strendin’s solo exhibition is on hold for now. The Gallery Members exhibition is cancelled for 2020.

All hockey playoff activity has been suspended and the season is over. The remaining playoff games for the Battlefords North Stars have been cancelled.

The Kinsmen Indoor Rodeo scheduled for April 24, 25 and 26 has been postponed indefinitely.

Twin Rivers Curling Club announced Monday April 16 they suspended all play for the remainder of the season.

The North Saskatchewan River Baseball League season is currently on hold, but the league is hoping to be able to resume play in July 2020.

The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductions remain scheduled for Aug. 15, subject to changes due to COVID-19.

Provincial events: Country Thunder in Craven is cancelled for 2020.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL football season, normally scheduled to begin in June, is currently on hold until further notice. The league hopes to begin play in September with a reduced schedule.

The Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse regular season has been declared completed, awaiting word on when and how playoffs will proceed.

The Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association has cancelled its 2020 season and all CPCA events scheduled for the region this year are cancelled.

Further restrictions:

Several local businesses were closed in response to restrictions issued Friday, March 20 by the province which took effect immediately. Here is the current status of those restrictions following the rollout of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan:

• Grocery stores have remained open, but major chains have adjusted their hours and operations in the wake of COVID-19.

• As of May 15 golf courses are allowed to re-open under tight restrictions; those include North Battleford Golf and Country Club, Jackfish Lake, Meota and Rustic Nine.

• Parks and campgrounds are open as of June 1, all under tight restrictions. Fort Battleford has announced it has re-opened.

• In-person classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions both public and private remain suspended until September, according to the province. This impacts Living Sky and Light of Christ school divisions.

• Restaurants have been restricted to only providing take out and delivery service, however they are being allowed to re-open at 50 per cent capacity as of June 8 as part of Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan.

• As of May 19, retail businesses that were previously not allowed could begin providing services to the public, subject to the Retail Guidelines, including:

clothing stores

shoe stores

flower shops

sporting good/adventure stores

vaping supply shops (vaping and consumption of vaping products not permitted in stores)

boats, ATV and snowmobile dealers

gift, book and stationery stores

jewelry and accessory stores

toy stores

music, electronic and entertainment stores

pawn shops

thrift stores

travel agencies

marinas

u-pick produce

• As of May 19 public markets and farmers markets could begin operations with the necessary precautionary measures in place.

• Personal service facilities including hair salons were allowed to reopen on May 19 as part of Phase 2 of Re-Open Saskatchewan.

• On May 4 dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, optician services, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment were allowed to reopen under Phase 1 of Re-Open Saskatchewan.

• As of June 8 other personal service businesses can begin providing services to the public, including:

esthetician;

tattoo artist;

make-up application;

electrologist;

manicurist;

pedicurist;

sun tanning parlour;

facilities in which body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services are provided; and

other personal service facilities

Effective June 8, gyms and fitness facilities will be able to open for service.

Child care facilities will be able to open for service, effective June 8.

Effective June 8, places of worship may resume services.

As of June 8 the size of public and private gatherings is being increased to 15 people indoors; 30 people outdoors.

Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan includes

All recreational and entertainment facilities, including casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, municipal parks and playgrounds, galleries, theatres, museums and similar facilities.

All seasonal programming, camps, recreational and athletic activities.

All businesses and customers are expected to practice physical distancing.

A date for Phase 4 has yet to be determined.

A date for Phase 5 of Re-Open Saskatchewan is yet to be determined and would see consideration of lifting long-term restrictions.

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