File photo of downtown Courtenay.

Courtenay experiment with street closure to help with social distancing postponed

5th Street between Cliffe and England Avenues will be closed to vehicle traffic today

UPDATE:

At 12:35 p.m. Friday, the City of Courtenay reversed the decision for the Fifth Street closure, sending out the following notice:

“At the request of Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, the road closure on 5th Street, originally scheduled for this Saturday, July 25th, has now been postponed. Stay tuned for more information about possible road closures on 5th Street to give more space for physical distancing this summer.”

*****

The City of Courtenay and the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association (DCBIA) are partnering on an initiative that will give more space for physical distancing in the downtown core.

On Saturday July 25, 5th Street between Cliffe and England Avenues will be closed to vehicle traffic from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. If the road closure is successful, it may be extended on future Saturdays through mid-September.

“We were pleased to support this proposal from the DCBIA, which will re-allocate space that’s typically used for cars to give more room for pedestrians who’d ordinarily be limited to just using the sidewalk,” said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells.

“We all need to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidelines for social interaction to keep ourselves and others safe. Dr. Henry recommends that anyone visiting small stores should wear masks.

“Be aware of your surroundings to maintain that two-metre buffer. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often, this is our new normal. Stay within your ‘bubble.’ Above all, be kind, and if you are sick stay home.”

During the 5th Street road closure, the DCBIA will monitor the number of pedestrians and seek feedback from their membership. If successful, the road closure may become a weekly event until mid-September, weather permitting. Safety protocols may be adjusted, including the possibility of extending the road closure to adjacent blocks.

The road closure will follow guidelines from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the reallocation of roadway space for physical distancing.

The City of Courtenay and the DCBIA will meet immediately after the first Saturday road closure to determine what changes may be necessary for the initiative to continue. If all goes well, regular communication and coordination between the City and DCBIA would continue throughout the summer to ensure subsequent Saturday road closures were working.

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