Restrictions on private gatherings, a mandatory work from home order, and a declaration of a public health emergency are just some of the changes going into effect on Thursday as the province looks to clamp down on the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Alberta.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says restrictions on indoor private gatherings for fully vaccinated Albertans over the age of 12, are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 people, with no restrictions on children under the age of 12.

Attendance at any indoor private social gathering is not permitted for vaccine-eligible individuals who are unvaccinated.

Outdoor private social gatherings are permitted to a maximum of 200 people, with two-metre physical distancing maintained. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

Premier Jason Kenney calls the restrictions announced on Wednesday critical as they continue to try and prevent the health system in Alberta from being overwhelmed.

“These steps are not easy for anyone, but with COVID-19 hospitalizations continuing to rise, particularly amongst the unvaccinated, we have no choice but to implement the proof of vaccination measures and temporary restrictions,” Kenney says.

“We have overcome past COVID-19 waves and we will once again. I strongly urge anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so immediately. Please protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.”

Starting Monday, September 20th, all Albertans that are eligible to get vaccinated will be required to provide government-issued proof of immunization or a negative privately paid COVID-19 test within 72 hours before accessing a variety of participating businesses including restaurants, bars, and indoor organized events.

The provincial government says businesses that operate within what they’re calling the Restrictions Exemption Program, would operate as usual, provided they are serving only people who have proof of immunization or who have a recent privately paid negative test.

Masking will now also be mandatory for all students grades 4 and up, as well as staff and teachers in all grades. Elementary schools are also required to implement class cohorting. Students 18 and under will however be exempt from wearing a mask or maintain two-metre distance when engaged in physical activity.

You can find a full, detailed list of all restrictions and changes to COVID-19 protocol guidelines, on the Government of Alberta website.

Written by Tina Karst, mylethbridgenow.com