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Alberta government clamps down with strict, new COVID-19 measures

Alberta’s UCP government has decided to impose much tougher restrictions to curb what’s been an increasing trend in new COVID-19 cases in the province.

However, retail businesses will be spared from a mandated shut down. They will be subject to a limit on capacity to 15% inside those businesses.

Premier Jason Kenney announced late Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 8) that several measures are being put in place to try and get a handle on this pandemic.

The provincial government has been under increasing pressure for weeks to do something substantial.

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“Alberta has sought to protect both lives and livelihoods from the beginning of the pandemic. The recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations will threaten our health-care system and the lives of many vulnerable Albertans unless further action is taken now. With the promise of a vaccine early in 2021, we can see the end of this terrible time. But all Albertans must take this more seriously than ever by staying home whenever possible, and following these new measures,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says these mandatory measures will help slow the spread of COVID-19. “This will require individual sacrifices that are necessary to protect our province. It’s not just about one person, it’s about doing what we can to protect and save our loved ones, colleagues, neighbours, and even strangers.”

The new measures will be in place for at least the next four weeks which will include the entire holiday season.

The new restrictions include:

– Province-wide mandatory mask-wearing requirement, except for farm operations (effectively immediately)
– Ban on all indoor & outdoor social gatherings (effectively immediately)
– Closure of restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges, and cafes for in-person service
only. Take-out, curbside, and home delivery still permitted (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Mandatory work-from-home measures where applicable. No longer a recommendation, but legally mandated by provincial government (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Retail occupancy reduced to 15% fire code occupancy (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Places of worship capacity reduced to 15% fire code occupancy (effective 12:01
am Sunday, Dec. 13)
-Closure of personal & wellness services such as hair salons, nail salons,
tattoo parlours, massage businesses (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Closure of casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, etc (effective
12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Closure of rec centres, fitness centres, gyms, swimming pools, studios, camps,
indoor arenas (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Closing of libraries, science centres, interpretive centres, museums, galleries,
amusement and water parks (effective 12:01 am Sunday, Dec. 13)
– Funerals & weddings remain at maximum of 10 people

Another 1,727 Albertans tested positive for COVID-19 over the past day and there were nine additional deaths.

In the Lakeland, the MD of Bonnyville has 43 active cases, the City of Cold Lake has 57 active cases, the County of St. Paul is said to have 121 active cases and Lac La Biche has 88 active cases along with 3 active cases considered in the County of Lac La Biche, according to Alberta Health Services.

Written by Pat Siedlecki,

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