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Alberta shuts down non-essential businesses and introduces protection for renters

The Alberta government is implementing more measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney announced all dine-in restaurants are ordered to close, with the exception of delivery and curbside pick-up. All non-essential retail stores are ordered to close and group gatherings are limited to 15 people with each person keeping a distance of two metres. 

Stores considered essential can have more than 15 workers at a time as long as they maintain public health measures. Measures include two-metre physical distancing, proper hand washing and processes to ensure no one sick comes into work.

Vehicle access to all provincial parks and provincial recreation areas have been temporarily suspended. The restrictions do not apply to forestry or oil and gas operations.

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“These are aggressive measures and we don’t take them lightly,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep people healthy. I strongly encourage all Albertans to stay close to home as we are all in this together. Our collective action will protect our family, friends and neighbours.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the province rose by 56 bringing the total number of cases to 542. In the Central zone, 43 cases have been found with 2 in Vermilion River County.

The premier also announced they will be providing more security for renters which included rent not being allowed to increase during the health crisis. Late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months and landlords and tenants will have to work together to develop a payment plan while the state of public emergency is in effect. 

He assures Albertans that no one will be evicted before May 1st due to non-payment. Landlords can evict tenants if the reason is unrelated to rent and utility payments such as safety concerns or criminal activity.

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