COVID-19 Citizen Survey

From December 3 to December 18, 2020, the City of Red Deer used an engagement process to allow the community to provide feedback on The City’s municipal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to determine what action can be taken by The City, and to better support the community through the pandemic response. The online survey garnered just over 3,000 responses.

COVID-19 Engagement Survey: what we heard and what we’re doing

The survey asked participants to indicate their perception of The City’s response, in terms of health and safety, social wellbeing, and economic wellbeing.

Top 3 most important factors in COVID-19 response

Top 3 most important factors in COVID-19 response (pdf)

Drilling down a little further, participants were also asked to identify their immediate concerns.

What are your household's concerns right now regarding COVID-19?

What are your household's concerns right now regarding COVID-19? (pdf)

The results, along with The City’s continued response, falls into five broad categories:

Information Sharing, Education and Awareness

In many cases, The City of Red Deer acts as a conduit to its citizens as we share provincial and federal pandemic response information in timely and consistent ways. However, it is important to note that The City is not the authority responsible for making decisions on things like public health orders and restrictions, travel bans and/or economic stimulus packages, to name a few. Learn more about government roles and responsibilities by reviewing the Government Roles and Responsibilities - Quick Reference Guide (pdf) .

Nonetheless, we recognize that The City is a critical information source for Red Deerians: the survey tells us that the Province of Alberta website is the primary source of information for 18 per cent of Red Deerians, 15 per cent indicate their primary source of information is The City of Red Deer website.

How do you normally get information about our COVID-19 municipal response?

How do you normally get information about our COVID-19 municipal response? (pdf)

With this in mind, we continue to work to share critical information, even where we are not the primary authority, especially as it pertains to the following areas:

  • Provincial public health orders and information
    • Signage, billboards and local media advertising related to provincial and municipal face covering regulations/bylaws, social gathering restrictions and business impacts.
    • Information about where to get updates and information from the provincial and federal governments as it relates to Covid-19 generally.
  • Provincial and federal restrictions/regulations
    • Sharing provincial and federal information that is critical to protecting our community during the pandemic
  • Municipal Covid-19 related bylaws
    • Sharing information about when, where, why and how to where face coverings in accordance with provincial and municipal face covering regulations
  • Reporting and/or enforcement processes and protocols
    • Highlighting when, where and how to report infractions
    • Focus on education and awareness wherever possible, issuing fines only when education fails
  • Business related Covid-19 support and information
    • Promotions for “Shop Local” initiatives, highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs
    • Community Kindness Initiatives
      • Mask normalization campaign
      • Shop Local initiatives
      • Public health information
      • Social marketing (pay it forward initiatives)
Bylaws, Regulations and Enforcement

Face Covering Bylaws

On August 17, 2020, Council approved a bylaw to mandate face coverings on Transit buses and in Transit terminals. This bylaw came into effect on August 31. On November 23, 2020, another bylaw, mandating face coverings for all indoor public places and public vehicles was adopted by Council that came into effect on November 30, 2020. On December 8, 2020, the provincial mask mandate came into effect, coinciding with municipal bylaws already in effect. The City of Red Deer bylaw was approved by City Council for an extension to June 2021.

In matters of discrepancy, the more stringent rules apply. For example, while The City’s bylaws exempt children under nine years of age, the provincial mandate only exempts children under two years of age. In this case, the requirement would be for children over two years of age to don a face covering when in public spaces, places of worship, and any indoor workplaces.

Survey results indicate that 56 per cent of participants indicated support for a municipal mask bylaw with 46 per cent opposed.

Do you support the temporary mandatory mask bylaw in Red Deer?

Do you support the temporary mandatory mask bylaw in Red Deer? (pdf)

Community Kindness and Wellbeing

We are truly all in this together, and now, more than ever before it is important to support our community in finding new ways to connect and support each other, at a time when we feel more disconnected than ever before. Survey respondents told us, among other things, that encouraging kindness is something we can do to help increase feelings of safety.

What creative solutions can you share with us to increase that feeling of safety in our community?

What creative solutions can you share with us to increase that feeling of safety in our community? (pdf)

 The City of Red Deer has actioned the following things in an effort to support community connectedness, community kindness and overall community wellbeing:

Be Kind Campaign

Advertising and Promotion:

  • November 28, 2020 – Half page advocate ad (kindness menu)
  • December 21 – January 1, 2021: Kindness Radio Ads – Kraze and X
  • Social media blitz between November 26 and December 18 encouraging people to spread kindness in alignment with campaign materials
  • From November 25 until Dec. 23, six stories highlighting community kindness were posted on We Are Red Deer.

Electronic and Static Signage (December 19 – Now):

  • Support Local, Be Kind, Follow Health Orders

 Editorial Advertising (December 19 – Now):

  • Full page ad in Red Deer Advocate Saturday January 23, 2021

“I Wear my Mask for ….” Campaign

Signage and Billboards:

  • November 28, 2020 – Half page advocate ad (kindness menu)
  • December 21 – January 1, 2021: Kindness Radio Ads – Kraze and X
  • Social media blitz between November 26 and December 18 encouraging people to spread kindness in alignment with campaign materials
  • From November 25 until Dec. 23, six stories highlighting community kindness were posted on We Are Red Deer.

Advertising and Promotion:

  • Support Local, Be Kind, Follow Health Orders
Economic Wellbeing and Business Support

Local businesses and entrepreneurs are facing unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. And our survey told us that residents are looking to The City for more business supports for individuals and families.

What should The City enhance or expand in response to COVID-19?

What should The City enhance or expand in response to COVID-19? (pdf)

The City of Red Deer is committed to doing what it can to support the Red Deer business community, with the following actions taken between March 13, 2020 and February 1, 2021.

  • Utility Deferrals – Beginning in March 2020, The City allowed up to 90-day deferrals on utility billing for residential, farm, and small commercial accounts. This gave these customers additional time, penalty free, to pay their utilities bills.
  • Temporary Suspension of Multiple Fees & Charges – To help ease the financial burden being experienced by residents and businesses in the early months of COVID-19, The City announced a number of temporary suspensions to fees and charges, including false alarm billing, and fees related to municipal policing for vulnerable sector checks, fingerprinting, etc.
  • Continuous operation of City Transit – As many residents in Red Deer, and the region, rely on transit to get to work, ensuring safe, timely services continuously throughout the pandemic has been of great importance to The City. While some service levels were reduced due to decreased usage, City transit never stopped running, ensuring workers could make it to their workplaces, and other destinations, safely.
  • Suspension of Parking Fees – Beginning in March, parking fees were waived across Downtown Red Deer and around the Red Deer Regional Hospital for all metres and daily parking in city-owned lots.
  • Tax Deferrals – Council voted, in April, to move the property tax deadline from June 30 until September 30, keeping in line with provincial announcements extending the education tax requisition deadline.
  • Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tax Levy Deadline Extension - At the same time that property tax deferrals were announced, Council also extended the Business Improvement Area (BIA) tax levy deadline until September 30, 2020.

In addition, The City continues to encourage the community to support local businesses through the community kindness campaign and other communications. And our survey showed that supporting local is something that the community has enjoyed seeing throughout the pandemic response.

What community activities have you enjoyed seeing residents partake in?

What community activities have you enjoyed seeing residents partake in? (pdf)

Organizational Operational Adjustments

Throughout COVID-19, The City has worked diligently to support the safety, health, and well-being of our residents, our patrons and users, our residents, and our businesses.

View a timeline of municipal actions from March 2020 to February 2021:

Municipal Response Timeline (pdf)

We thank everyone who provided their feedback through this survey. View the Red Deer Covid-19 Citizen Survey Report (pdf) .

The City continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic and our municipal response. Please continue to check our website for regular updates.