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Edmontonians cautiously soak up the sun at hot spots amid spike in COVID-19 variants

People in Edmonton took advantage of the warm weather Saturday.

While many hot spots were bustling with people, COVID-19 safety was top of mind.

“We came out here to enjoy the weather and hit some golf balls,” Isaac Veldtman said.

“With COVID, I think everybody wants to get out of the house, so business has been really busy,” Mill Woods Golf Course pro Marty Winch said.

The driving range at the Mill Woods Golf Course was packed and the course fully booked. When it comes to playing the game, safety was at the forefront for staff and players.

“We feel safe. I mean, it’s outdoors, and we can stay away, wear our masks inside but other than that, it’s nice to be able to hang out without a mask outside for a while,” golfer Marius Veldtman said.

“We spray all of our power carts so they’re all sanitized, and our driving range is spaced 10 feet apart, so everybody should be safe, and if they’re in the building, they have to wear a mask,” Winch said.

On 104 Street, the area was bustling with people as a section was closed off to vehicle traffic for downtown dining week.

“What a great day, what a great concept to open up the street like this and help out the neighbourhood restaurants and bars that had a really tough go, and you can’t beat the weather,” patron Paul Whittaker said.

“It’s an energy we haven’t felt in downtown for quite a while,” Downtown Business Association executive director Puneeta McBryan said.

The DBA said 104 Street will also be closed next week. The influx of people is not only welcome but is also needed as business has been slow.

When it comes to safety on the street, strict measures are in place.

“It was pretty key because of the state that we’re in with COVID right now, that there’s not any programming whatsoever. There’s no music, there’s nothing that causes people to stop and gather, so it’s really designed to keep people moving through the street,” McBryan said.

McBryan said it’s business as usual when it comes to implementing restrictions at restaurant patios.

Seating is limited, and tables are spaced out. Masks must be worn when not seated.

Although it may feel like summer, we are still months away. The province has told Albertans to follow health restrictions and limit in-person interactions.

Read more:
Premier says gathering limits can ease once half of Alberta has immunity. When will that be?

“Please, if you can, stay at home, avoid social interaction, don’t give that virus any chance to spread for the next few weeks, and if you do that, we can have the best summer we’ve ever had. We can gather with friends on patios and bars and in homes and reconnect and make up for lost time,” Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this week.

Regardless of calls to stay indoors, many patios, including those along Whyte Avenue, were busy with patrons seen adhering to public health measures.

People strolling along the Victoria Promenade shared pathways, enjoying the weather but with caution.

“I think people are making the effort. I think we are all a little afraid of the variants,” resident Joanne Archibald said.

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