How to mark May long weekend with COVID-safe activities

·3 min read
A family ready for the weekend makes use of a day-use site at Hawrelak Park.  (Trevor Wilson/CBC - image credit)
A family ready for the weekend makes use of a day-use site at Hawrelak Park. (Trevor Wilson/CBC - image credit)

It's the first long weekend of the year that is expected to bring warm spring weather to Edmonton.

And it could be the last under strict public health measures if Albertans stay vigilant, the province's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said this week.

So here are some ways to stay COVID-safe while making the most of the May long weekend.

For a family-friendly virtual experience, Sprouts New Play Festival for Kids offers online live theatre performances suitable for kids between 18 months and 12 years old. The festival is produced by Edmonton-based Concrete Theatre and runs Saturday and Sunday.

Spray parks are set to open in St. Albert and Calmar, both with physical distancing rules in place.

Maintenance teams have started to inspect Edmonton spray parks in preparation for summer, says Eduardo Sosa, the city's infrastructure maintenance director. While the spray parks remain closed, he says that decision will be reconsidered in June.

The City of Edmonton is preparing spray parks for the summer but St. Albert and Calmar will open spray parks this long weekend.
The City of Edmonton is preparing spray parks for the summer but St. Albert and Calmar will open spray parks this long weekend. (CBC)

For the more adventurous types, Fitset Ninja has transformed their parking lot into an outdoor obstacle course. The Ninja Park is now accepting households and individuals in what they call a "socially distanced, AHS compliant park."

A short drive out of the city, Entwhistle-based Pembina River Tubing is ready to open. Tubing is still by reservation only this year to ensure they are able to transport tubers on buses safely back from the pick-up spot.

Owner Cheryl Harris says they are ready to enforce the rules.

Woodshed Burgers is just one of many local restaurants with playoff game-day specials.
Woodshed Burgers is just one of many local restaurants with playoff game-day specials.(Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Reservations are capped at six people, she said, and large families or individuals reserving with a close contact may be asked for proof.

After a week of intermittent rain and rising river water levels, Harris says the company upped its recommended age limit to 14 due to the stronger current.

Golf courses are also still open, though no dine-in or sit-down meal service is being offered. Golfers must only play with people from their own household or, if they live alone, with their two close contacts.

Picnic lovers may want to consider a trip to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Their curated brunch boxes were a hit last summer and are again in high demand. Visitors are free to bring their leashed dogs as part of Dog Days at the Garden, the twice-annual exception to the usual no-pets-allowed rule.

The Edmonton Oilers playoff run continues with games Friday, Sunday and Monday.

A number of local restaurants are ready to feed fans' game day cravings with special packaged combos, discounts and delivery.

Pembina River Tubing company is set to open this weekend while enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.
Pembina River Tubing company is set to open this weekend while enforcing COVID-19 restrictions. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

"Obviously it sucks a little bit that we can't put butts in seats and show the gamer here," said Nick Thompson, general manager of Woodshed Burgers on 124th Street.

"But at least we have a way to help people enjoy the game while still having a bit of normalcy."

Hinshaw urged Albertans on Thursday to use caution this weekend.

"If we all stay vigilant and do our part just one more time, this might be the last long weekend when such sacrifices are necessary," she said.