Alberta brings in new public health restrictions as Omicron cases rise
As Omicron cases rise in Alberta, public health officials have announced new restrictions, including capacity limits for large scale events.
The new restrictions were announced at a previously scheduled COVID-19 briefing with Premier Jason Kenney, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and Health Minister Jason Copping.
The new measures take effect Friday and include the following:
- Venues with more than 1,000 attendees must reduce capacity by 50%
- No food or drink at large audience venues or during intermissions
- Masks must be worn at all times at the events mentioned above
- Venues between 500 and 1,000 are capped at 500
- Restaurants and bars are limited to 10 people per table, no mingling between tables
- No interactive activities at restaurants, pubs and bars (dancing, darts and billiards)
- No alcohol service past 11 pm, close at 12:30 am
Albertans are also being asked to reduce their social contacts by 50% during the holiday season.
Restrictions continue for both indoor and outdoor social gatherings, weddings, funerals, places of worship and businesses.
Masking remains mandatory in all indoor public spaces, including in facilities participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program.
“We need to avoid superspreader events,” said Copping.
“If you test positive for COVID-19, assume you have the Omicron variant,” added Hinshaw.
On Tuesday, the province also announced anyone 18+ can get their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, lowering the amount of time passed from their second dose from six months to five.
According to Kenney, currently 16% of all Albertans who are eligible for a booster COVID-19 dose have received one.
“Getting that third dose is the most effective thing you can do,” said Kenney.
On Tuesday, Alberta reported 564 new Omicron cases, bringing the provincial total to 1,609.
In addition the the restrictions, the Alberta government says it will directly purchase up to 10 million rapid tests for anticipated delivery in January, allowing Albertans to secure immediate supplies.