In a Tuesday afternoon COVID-19 update, the provincial government announced that Alberta will be moving back to Step 1 restrictions as variant cases continue to rise.
“We are taking strong action to stop the third wave from threatening our health system and the health of thousands of Albertans,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “The rapid rise in cases, especially variants of concern, makes this a critical time to stop the spread.”
“These measures will buy us some time for additional COVID-19 vaccines to arrive and take effect so we can once again start safely easing restrictions as quickly as possible.”
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Starting Tuesday at midnight, new public health measures will be in effect for retail, indoor fitness, and adult performance activities.
Effective at noon on Friday, April 9, indoor in-person service is no longer permitted at restaurants, bars, lounges, and cafes. Dining establishments can continue to offer takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery services.
Outdoor patio dining will also be allowed, but it remains limited to household members only, or two close contacts for those who live alone.
Public health measures will stay the same for places of worship, social gatherings, personal and wellness services, and children’s sport and performance.
“The rising spread of variants means that we must take stricter measures in order to protect capacity in our health system and save lives,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
“These mandatory new health measures will only be needed for a short while as we vaccinate Albertans as quickly as possible.”
Alberta reported 931 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and, of these, 676 were variants of concern. Variants cases now make up nearly 43% of the province’s 10,809 active infections.
There are currently 328 people in hospital due to the virus, including 76 Albertans in intensive care.
Three new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported over the last 24 hours, raising the province’s death toll to 2,001.