by Stephen Dafoe
Following Premier Jason Kenney’s COVID-19 announcement on the renewed state of public health emergency and additional restrictions, both the opposition NDP and Canadian Federation of Independent Business issued statements critical of the moves.
The NDP called Tuesday’s restrictions “a package of half measures” that were far too little and far too late, while the CFIB said that although the moves would hurt business, they were pleased the government did not do a blanket shutdown of businesses.
“Albertans waited 12 days, and in that time, 94 Albertans died and more than 13,000 Albertans got sick with COVID-19,” said Rachel Notley, Leader of the NDP Official Opposition in a media release. “Albertans waited 12 whole days expecting to see strong action, but once again, this Premier let them down.”
Notley went on to say she believed the announcement was “the product of political bargaining inside the UCP and not the product of a serious engagement with public health advice.”
The NDP are critical that Tuesday’s announcement contains no meaningful changes to retail stores, restaurants or bars, and that the provicnail mask policy applies only to the Edmonton and Calgary zones.
“These half-measures will mean prolonging the pandemic, prolonging the suffering, and prolonging the economic pain,” Notley said. “It is now clear that the official position of the Government of Alberta is to do the very least to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said they were pleased to see government allowing most business to remain open, despite significant restrictions.
“Alberta small businesses are in a fragile position with 45 per cent losing money every day they are open, and 40 per cent reporting they will not be able to survive if locked down a second time,” said CFIB Alberta provincial affairs director, Annie Dormuth in a media release Tuesday night. “A blanket lockdown would have pushed Alberta small businesses to the brink of closure. The new limited measures will give small business a fighting chance to surviving the holiday season. Its now up to Albertans to follow these new orders and do our part to slow the spread.”
Tuesday’s reported numbers were 13,349 active cases, including 1,115 new COVID cases. As of Tuesday, there were 348 people in hospital and 66 in intensive care. Locally, Morinville has 33 active cases, and Sturgeon County 92.
For the complete list of measures announced Tuesday, see our story here.