RED DEER -- The City of Red Deer will be deferring utility bills for up to 90 days amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made in accordance with the Alberta government’s deferral of utility charges. Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer payments on water, sewer and waste utilities with no late penalty fee for up to 90 days.

“The City of Red Deer is aware that this is a really challenging situation for our residents, and we know that right now there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of financial situations for many of our residents,” said Karen Mann, the Director of Emergency Operations Centre.

Anyone can defer payments on utilities, but Mann said those who can afford to pay should still continue pay.

“However, for those who do need that extra time, the city is providing this 90-day grace period.”

The deferral is also in place for individuals who are not able to pay online or by phone and must come to city hall physically, as city hall is closed to the public, except for its main floor.

For all cases, the payment will accumulate over the 90-day period, and residents will have to enter into a repayment plan.

The city is also suspending all parking fees with metered parking and parking lots owned by the city.

The metered parking fees will also be suspended surrounding the Red Deer Regional hospital. However, the suspension does not apply to the hospital parkade and parking lots or privately-owned lots.

Red Deer is also working on amendments to the transit schedule. An announcement is expected in the coming days.

“If our ridership is down and if our recommendations from the chief medical officer of health continue to change, we will continue to make adjustments to transit accordingly.”

The city’s call centre is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the public's questions at 403-342-8111.