by Morinville News Staff
Mass gatherings in Alberta were reduced from 50 to 15 on Friday, one of a number of new measures announced by Premier Jason Kenney and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw on Friday.
Attendance at certain businesses and organizations across the province will be prohibited effective immediately.
“This was a difficult decision to make, but we must do everything we can to protect the safety of Albertans and limit the spread of COVID-19. Grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery services and other essential businesses will continue to provide Albertans with the goods and services they need, and we’ll look to Alberta’s business leaders to find innovate ways to continue remote operations and protect jobs. These businesses must do everything they can to safeguard the well-being of the hardworking employees on the front lines,” Premier Jason Kenney said.
Restrictions are now in place for the following classifications of business:
• Close contact businesses including hair salons and barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, esthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
• Dine-in restaurants will no longer be able to offer dine-in service. Take-out and delivery services will continue to be available.
• Non-essential retail services that fall into the categories of clothing, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centres such as hobby and toys, gift and specialty items and furniture.
At 8:30 pm Friday night, the province sent out an update that included gift and specialty stores, jewellery & accessories, non-essential health and beauty care, luggage, art and framing, mens’, ladies’ and children’s clothing, shoes, bridal, computers & gaming, hobby & toy, photo, music and books, and sporting goods as non-essential
The province’s list of essential retail businesses are as follows:
• Businesses engaged in the retail and wholesale sale of food, pet food and supplies, and household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and businesses, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and other similar retailers
• Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies, including bedding
• AGLC, beer, wine and liquor stores and alcohol producers, and stores that sell beer and wine through arrangements with authorized providers; vaping stores; cannabis producers
• Gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine craft fuels
• Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including bicycle repair, aircraft repair, heavy equipment repair, watercraft/marine craft repairs, car and truck dealerships and related facilities
• Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses
• Business providing pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services, including pharmacies and dispensaries
• Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses
• Safety supply stores (safety gear and Personal Protective Equipment)
• Businesses that supply and deliver remote or online ordering
Workplaces that can continue to operate can have up to 15 workers on a worksite as long as those business maintain public health measures, including two-metre social distancing, hygiene enforcement and processes that ensure that any person who is ill does not attend these spaces.
In addition to the business measures, Albertans must observe two-metres of social distancing, including when on open spaces, including trails, fields and parks, public and private gatherings where people are brought together in a single room or space at the same time, including funerals, weddings, and other formal and informal events.
“These are aggressive measures and we don’t take them lightly,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep people healthy. I strongly encourage all Albertans to stay close to home as we are all in this together. Our collective action will protect our family, friends and neighbours.”
Businesses or organizations not following the public health order will be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.