- Province Wide Mask Mandate;
- Work from Home Orders;
- Social Gatherings Ban;
- Restaurants, Casinos, Personal services must closed;
Edmonton, AB (WNews)- Alberta on Tuesday introduced new mandates to help slow the spread of COVID19. Jason Kenney at a Tuesday Press conference made Mask requirements for all public indoor sittings.
Premier Jason Kenney announced sweeping new provincial measures Tuesday, as the second wave of COVID-19 continues to hit Alberta hard. The announcement came as the province reported 1,727 new cases of the virus.
While retail businesses in Alberta may remain open, they must do so at a lower fire code capacity limit of 15 percent. Worship centres will also stay open under those same limits.
The new measures will be in effect for a minimum of four weeks, which means they will be in place until at least the first week of 2021.
Kenney said the decision to launch additional measures was necessary as hospitalizations mount.
“If stronger action is not taken now, we know that hundreds, or potentially thousands more Albertans could die.”
654 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, with 112 of them in ICU.
“That (hospitalization) number has grown by 600 percent since the last week of October,” Kenney said. “Six-hundred-and-forty Albertans have now passed away from COVID-19.”
The nine additional deaths announced by Alberta Health Tuesday which brought the death toll to 640 were all seniors.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw urged Albertans to stay the course and follow the rules to help protect the vulnerable.
“I know it is hard, but I ask you to be diligent, to be patient, and to keep going,” Hinshaw said.
“Two months ago, on Oct. 8, our positivity rate was just 1.34 percent… today our positivity rate is 9.41 percent,” Hinshaw said.
“There have been outbreaks in almost every type of group setting — parties, family dinners, sports cohorts, long-term care facilities, schools, hospitals, workplaces and supportive living facilities.”
Hinshaw added the virus has touched “every region and every age group,” and that the youngest case so far has been in someone less than one-year-old, and the oldest case was reported in someone who was 108.
The mask mandate and social gathering ban are effective immediately, the province said, but the rest of the restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, then last until at least Jan. 12, 2021.
The ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings means that you may only see people in your own household, except for those who live alone who can still see up to two people outside their household.
“Group social activities are not allowed at this time,” Hinshaw said. “That’s defined in terms of people coming together — mixing, mingling, socializing, and spending time in that spot.” However, she added people from different households can still go on walks or other outdoor activities together if they are distanced. The gathering restrictions don’t apply to caregiver service visits, child care and co-parenting arrangements, or visits from health-care providers.
On midnight Sunday, all the below businesses will be ordered closed:
- Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes for in-person activities, but takeout, curbside pickup and delivery are still allowed;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and all entertainment centres like bowling alleys, gaming complexes, Legions and private clubs;
- Recreational and fitness centres including pools, gyms, studios, and arenas;
- Libraries, science centres, museums, galleries, amusement and water parks;
- Personal care services like hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, tanning salons, and massage therapy;
Kenney noted that some outdoor activities like skiing and skating will still be permitted under strict distancing measures. Hotels may also remain open but must close their pools, fitness facilities and restaurants, and offer room service.
“Every business is essential for the person who owns that business and the people who work there,” he said. “And that’s something we should not lose sight of again.”
Services that can remain open by appointment include:
- regulated health services like doctor’s offices, dentists, physiotherapy, optometrists, hearing aid practitioners, acupuncturists and naturopaths.
- Professional services by appointment are also allowed for lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers.