by Stephen Dafoe
Premier Jason Kenney announced a slate of stiffer restrictions Tuesday evening, some commencing immediately, others beginning over the coming days. The new measures apply to all Albertans, businesses, organizations and service providers in municipalities or areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases.
“This is a last resort and a necessary step. With cases continuing to rise, we have no choice but to take serious action now or jeopardize putting the health system at risk,” Kenney said. “If we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of restrictions, which no Albertan wants to see. The best way to get out of this is for all Albertans to follow these new measures and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”
Starting Friday, May 6, K-12 learning will be at home. That measure remains in effect until Tues, May 25. Additionally, post-secondary classes will also move online.
Any workplace with an outbreak will have to shut down for 10 days.
Retail is now reduced to 10 per cent of fire code capacity, and outdoor patios previously allowed to operate are closed. Takeout is the only option available for the province’s restaurants.
Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, personal and wellness services, including salons, barbershops and nail salons will have to close for three weeks. Professional services, including lawyers and accountants, will be by appointment only.
The province has reduced outdoor social gatherings to 5 people, church services down to 15 people rather than 15 per cent of fire code capacity, and funerals are now reduced to 10 people.
Fitness centres remain closed, and one-on-one is also not permitted.
Kenney also promised harsher penalties, rising from $1000 to $2000 and tougher enforcement for repeat offenders.
Complete details on the new restrictions can be found below and at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx
Expanded public health measures
The following mandatory public health measures will apply to all communities with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases:
- Outdoor social gatherings – Effective May 5
- All outside social gatherings must be limited to no more than five people.
- This is a decrease from the previous 10-person limit.
- Mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.
- All indoor social gatherings are still prohibited.
- Indoor fitness – Effective May 5
- All indoor fitness must close, including for one-on-one training.
- Funerals – Effective May 5
- No more than 10 people can attend funeral services, including participants and guests.
- This is a decrease from the current limit of 20 people, and brings funerals in line with wedding services.
- Wedding and funeral receptions are still not permitted.
- Retail – Effective May 5
- Retail services must limit customer capacity to 10 per cent of fire code occupancy (not including staff) or a minimum of five customers.
- The 10 per cent capacity limit at shopping malls will exclude common area square footage.
- Curbside pick up, delivery and online services are encouraged.
- Post-secondary institutions – Effective May 5
- All post-secondary learning must shift to online learning only.
- Places of worship – Effective May 5
- Faith services are limited to in-person attendance of 15 people. This is a decrease from the previous 15 per cent capacity limit.
- Physical distancing between households must be maintained at all times.
- Virtual or online services are strongly recommended.
- Drive-in services where people do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance are allowed.
- Hotels/motels – Effective May 5
- Hotels and motels can remain open but pools and recreation facilities must close.
- Working from home – Effective May 5
- Working from home remains mandatory unless the employer requires the employee’s physical presence to operate effectively.
- Where at work for operational effectiveness, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.
- Work place transmission – Effective May 5
- Any workplace, except work camps and essential and critical services, with transmission of three or more cases will be required by health officials to close for 10 days.
- Any workplace that does not comply will be subject to enforcement.
- Schools (K-12) – Effective May 7
- All kindergarten to Grade 12 students will temporarily shift to at-home learning, starting on May 7. Students will return to in-class learning on May 25. Exceptions will continue to be available for students with disabilities so they can continue to attend in-person classes as necessary.
- Restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafes – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
- In-person dining on patios is prohibited. Only take-out or delivery services are allowed.
- Personal and wellness services – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
- Hair salons, barbers, nail salons, estheticians, tattoos and piercing, must close.
- Previously, these were allowed by appointment only.
- Health, social and professional services – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
- Regulated health services, such as physicians, dentists and chiropractors, can remain open by appointment only.
- Non-regulated health services, such as massage therapists and kinesiologists, can remain open by appointment only.
- Professional services, such as lawyers and photographers, can remain open by appointment only.
- Social services, such as shelters and not-for-profit community kitchens, can remain open.
- Sports, performance and recreation – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
- All outdoor sports and recreation are now prohibited except with members of your household or, if living alone, two close contacts. This is a decrease from the current limit of 10 people.
- This includes:
- all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes, training sessions
- all one-on-one lessons and training activities
- all practices, training and games
- All indoor sport and recreation is prohibited, including youth sports.
- All indoor performance activity is prohibited, including youth performances.
- Professional sport organizations that have received an exemption can continue, provided protocols are strictly followed.