Alberta declares state of public health emergency

Mar 17 2020, 1:17 pm

Alberta is about to go into a state of public health emergency.

A release from the Province of Alberta stated that new measures will be announced later today to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the declaration of a state of public health emergency.

This means that Alberta’s Provincial Operations Centre has been elevated to a level 4, the highest possible level, and that mass gathering will be limited to no more than 50 people.

“This is an unprecedented moment in our history and decisive action is needed,” said Premier Jason Kenney in the release.

“We recognize that these measures will have a profound impact on the lives of Albertans, but they are necessary in the face of this growing pandemic.”

The limitations on mass gatherings include places of worship, weddings, and restaurants.

Take out, delivery, and drive through services are still permitted, though sit-in restaurants, cafes, and food courts will be capped at either 50 people or 50% of regular capacity, if that capacity is lower than 100.

The limit does not apply to grocery stores, shopping centres, health-care facilities, airports, the legislature, and other essential services, according to the release.

“These measures are necessary if we are to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in the release.

“Our intention is to limit opportunities for disease transmission by limiting the amount of time Albertans are spending in large crowds and crowded spaces. All Albertans should take immediate action and follow all recommended public health measures. Protecting the health of Albertans is, and always will be, our top priority.”

Albertans are hereby prohibited from attending public recreation and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, bingo halls, bars, and nightclubs.

Not-for-profit community kitchens, religious kitchens, and soup kitchens are currently exempt from the new limitations.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.