Alberta Premier Jason Kenney just announced a new round of public health orders.
The new COVID-19 restrictions were announced at a press conference on Tuesday, November 24 as part of the province’s effort in reducing the spread of coronavirus.
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According to Kenney, Alberta will see the following restrictions implemented immediately:
- No indoor social gatherings will be permitted in any setting (does not apply for those providing home based services such as health, home, or child care)
- Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people
- Those who live alone will be allowed two non-household social contacts
- Weddings and funerals will be limited to 10 people, with no receptions permitted
These new restrictions are in place for the entirety of the province until further notice, and those who are found to be breaking the rules will be subject to fines of $1,000 for ticketed offences and up to $100,000 through the courts.
As well, worship gatherings in enhanced status areas will now have a mandatory cap of one-third of occupancy, effective immediately.
Kenney also noted that an emergency alert will be sent out later this week to make sure that every Albertan is aware of the new measures.
As of this Friday, a number of new temporary restrictions will be in place for businesses throughout the province:
- Temporary closure will be in place for banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, concert venues, community centres, children’s play places, and all levels of sports, though leagues may apply for exemptions
- Retail businesses and services can remain open at 25% occupancy, or a minimum of five customers, whichever is more. This includes movie theatres, libraries, museums, galleries, racing centres, bingo halls, water parks, amusement parks, fitness centres, pools, recreation centres, dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastic, and private or public swimming pools. No group fitness, training, or games are allowed
- In-person dining can remain open following existing guidelines, though those dining must be of the same household
- Hair salons, personal wellness services, hotels, professional services, and other businesses must switch to appointment-only
Kenney also noted that in-person learning for Alberta students Grades 7 through 12 will end on November 30, and once winter break starts for all students on December 18, the break will be extended to January 11, 2021.
Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of the school year, and masks remain required for students in school.
Masks have been made mandatory for indoor work places in Calgary, Edmonton, and surrounding areas, though can be removed if alone in an office or cubicle safely distanced from others, or when an appropriate barrier is in place. This applies to visitors including delivery personnel, employees, and contractors.
The mandatory mask measures do not apply if the mask can pose a safety risk to an employee.
Albertans are encouraged to work from home if they are able to.
This is not the first time this month that restrictions have tightened for the province, as Kenney’s last press conference appearance on November 12 brought about a halt to group fitness, team sports, and group performances for much of the province.
The earlier announcement also established a 10 pm liquor sale limit as well as an 11 pm curfew on restaurants, bars, and pubs in areas under enhanced status. Albertans were strongly encouraged to stop hosting social events at their homes, and workplaces were asked to reduce the number of staff in their buildings if possible.
“If we see a significant drop in our new daily cases, we may be able to ease [the restrictions],” said Kenney in the November 24 press conference, “but, let me be blunt, if these measures do not have a meaningful impact — and that depends on how each one of us responds — we will be forced to take even more drastic measures to protect the healthcare system later in December.”