Premier Jason Kenney has declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta.
He introduced on Tuesday what he calls bold and targeted new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.
The new measures come after an eight-hour meeting of the COVID cabinet committee on Monday where Kenney says attendees were reminded of the profound human impact of this pandemic. He says to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part to prevent spread.
Effective immediately, there will be no indoor social gatherings permitted in any setting, in any part of the province, at any time. Outdoor social gatherings will be capped at ten people. The ten-person maximum will also apply to funerals and weddings and no receptions will be permitted. As of Friday, places of worship will be capped at one-third of the fire code regulation and attendees must be masked.
New rules are also being implemented for businesses in a few categories and will be in effect for three weeks. After that point, the measures will be re-evaluated. Retail businesses and services may remain open but will be restricted to 25 per cent of occupancy limits, in-person dining will be allowed to continue but those dining out must be limited to those in a single household.
Businesses that can remain open by appointment only: hair salons, personal care services, hotels, etc.
Temporarily closing: Banquet halls, conference centres, and concert venues.
Employees who have the ability to work from home are also being asked to do so.
When it comes to schools, all students in Grades 7 through 12 will move to online learning at the end of the month and will continue this way until school resumes in the New Year. Winter break will also be extended – beginning on Dec. 18 with school resuming on Jan. 11. There will be no change for students in younger grades or for daycares.
Masks will also be mandatory in any indoor workplace within the cities of Edmonton and Calgary as well as the Edmonton and Calgary Zones of Alberta Health Services.
Kenney warns if these measures do not have a meaningful impact, more drastic action will have to be taken. There were 1,115 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday and 16 additional deaths. As far as active cases go, the province hit 13, 349 which is another new record.
The City of Lloydminster will continue to follow Saskatchewan’s Public Health Order, as it has since the state of local emergency was called. Towns passed the City’s borders into Alberta will follow the new provincial guidelines.
Written by Tina Karst, MyLethbridgeNow.com