As public health restrictions are lifted throughout the province, the City of Humboldt will be moving forward with a hybrid cleaning model – incorporating some of the techniques used throughout the pandemic.
The change to the public health order, which takes effect on July 11, will remove mandatory indoor masking as well as limits on events and gathering sizes. The province is advising that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should still consider masking.
According to Michael Ulriksen, Humboldt’s director of community and leisure services, throughout the pandemic leisure services staff felt that while the cleaning protocols were effective against COVID-19, they also had long-term benefits with standard flu seasons as well as preventing facility wear and tear.
“The stringency we have been cleaning will definitely be pulled back a bit,” Ulriksen said. “For example, our fitness rooms, we typically would go in there to fog the facility twice a day with a disinfecting fogger. We’re going to be cutting that back to multiple times a week, but not a twice-per-day basis.”
Doorknobs, handles and railings will continue to be a daily focus in staff’s cleaning schedules, rather than periodically.
While masking is no longer required, Ulriksen said leisure services is making an effort for people to feel comfortable wearing masks in their facilities.
“While masking is not required in our facilities we encourage people who want to wear them to come in wearing them and we’ll treat them just like everyone else. We want people to feel comfortable coming into the facility wearing masks and not feeling they’ll be looked at differently.”
Sanitization stands will remain fully available into the future and continue to be stocked.
Facility numbers will return to normal, which in Humboldt will impact the Aquatic Centre, the fitness room, and arena when it opens on Aug. 15.
The convention centre will remain unavailable for the time being, as public health has rented the space to give vaccine clinics.
“We have a lease with them until the end of December, provided they need it that long. We might get it back early, but they’ll be there so we won’t be taking any large events – no weddings, no events of that nature.”
At the museum, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Humboldt’s director of cultural services, said that they’re encouraging physical distancing and hand sanitizer, but it won’t be mandatory.
The museum’s touchable exhibits were placed in storage or out of bound limits for the duration of the pandemic, but with restrictions being lifted, the exhibits are returning to the main areas.
“We’ve already put a lot of the exhibits back to how they were before COVID,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Museums don’t encourage touching to begin with, but we did some interactive areas that people could use. We removed those based on provincial guidelines early on, so we brought back those things you could push a button to listen to something, or things like that.”
Penny Lee, communications with the city, said regular meetings of Humboldt council will continue to be available live-streamed on Youtube, although the chambers will be open to members of the public. Dividers will remain in place between desks for the immediate future, although Lee said this will likely not be permanent.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal