Alberta has changed gathering rules for the holidays: What you need to know

Dec 15 2021, 4:40 pm

Alberta has changed its rules surrounding people gathering indoors under its public health measures ahead of the holiday season.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement at a scheduled COVID-19 update Wednesday morning.

The update was set to be held yesterday, however it was postponed due to an emergency call surrounding Omicron in Canada with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other premiers.

“Early evidence suggests Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant,” said Kenney, pointing to Ontario’s rising Omicron cases.

“We have to use every possible tool at our disposal to limit our exposure to the virus.”

Can I gather with family for Christmas?

The answer is yes. Kenney announced that Alberta is removing the two household limit to allow up to 10 people to gather indoors, and applies to all Albertans whether they are vaccinated or not.

Those at the gathering also don’t have to be from the same household, they can be from anywhere. Albertans younger than 18 are not counted in these gathering numbers.

Previous public health measures prohibited vaccinated and unvaccinated Albertans to gather indoors.

Kenney said he hoped to loosen more rules in the lead up to the holidays, however with Omicron looming it is not possible.

“We were very much hoping to relax more broadly our public health measures going into this Christmas, Albertans have really stepped up to the plate and we think this a reasonable, very modest change that allows people to have small family gatherings,” added Kenney.

“We are taking a cautious, balanced approach,” said Health Minister Jason Copping.

The moves comes as cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant continues to grow across Canada, with 50 confirmed cases in Alberta alone.

During the press conference Kenney also announced that free rapid COVID-19 test kits will be given out in Alberta ahead of the holiday season.

The test kits will be available starting Friday, December 17 and can be picked up at 840 participating sites, including Alberta Health Services locations and pharmacies across the province.

Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

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