Albertans will head into the long weekend with the reintroduction of COVID-19 restrictions. The province announced Friday that masks will be mandatory in all indoor public places and workplaces effective 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Bars and restaurants will also once again have to end liquor sales at 10 p.m., and Albertans are encouraged to limit their social interactions to close contacts only.
The UCP spent considerable time weighing measures Thursday, ultimately imposing restrictions due to what they say are increasing COVID-19 transmission and rising hospital admissions, overwhelmingly amongst unvaccinated Albertans.
A government of Alberta press release, issued Friday indicates more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospitals are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care.
“Vaccines are safe, effective, and a game-changer. This is why the current wave is different than what we’ve experienced before,” Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said in a media release Friday. “While we do not need to return to the same widespread and dramatic measures we had in place earlier in the pandemic, unvaccinated Albertans in particular are still at risk and are placing a heavy load on our health-care system. This is why we are taking measured steps and introducing a new incentive program to encourage more Albertans to get the jab.”
The government of Alberta will now pay those who have not yet received a one-time payment of $100 for a first or second dose. This incentive applies to anyone over the age of 18.
Once vaccinated, the previously unvaccinated will be able to apply for their cash online starting Sept. 13.
After vaccination, eligible Albertans will be able to register online. Alberta Health will validate registrations against provincial immunization data. This website will be available starting on Sept. 13. If Albertans do not have access to a computer, they can contact 310-0000 for assistance, starting on Sept. 13
All Albertans who have received two doses of vaccine and are aged 18 and over are eligible for the remaining $1-million draw for the Open for Summer Lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/lottery. The final draw closes Sept. 23.
Fully protected Albertans are also eligible to enter the Outdoor Adventure vaccine lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/outdoor-adventure-vaccine-lottery.aspx. The lottery closes Sept. 9.
Below is a list of the temporary restrictions coming into effect:
- The province will make masks mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces starting Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
- Also, as of Sept. 4 at 8 a.m., restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments will be required to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.
- In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. To support this, the province strongly recommends that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.
- It is also recommended that employers pause their plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work-from-home measures. If employees are working on location, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.