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Alberta implements new guidelines including K-6 students going back to online Friday

Posted on 5 May 2021 by Contributed

Jason Kenney at last night\'s press conference.

These include new restrictions on outdoor social gatherings, schools, retail, restaurants, places of worship, personal and wellness services, outdoor sports and fitness, funerals, and post-secondary institutions.

The new restrictions come into force effective May 5, unless indicated otherwise, and will remain in place for at least three weeks.

These 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. 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.” Explained Premier Jason Kenney in a statement.

“These measures are tough but have proven to work. Rising cases and hospitalizations mean we must take stricter measures in order to protect capacity in our health system. These mandatory new health measures are some of the strictest we’ve implemented, but they are absolutely critical to the future of our province,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health.

“I want to thank teachers, school staff, parents and of course our students for their flexibility and efforts since the start of the pandemic. The disruptions are difficult inside and outside the classroom, and this has been especially true with the recent rise of cases in the province. That said, if all Albertans do their part, this will be a temporary reset for our schools and we all can look forward to coming back to class later this spring to close out the school year,” added Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.

“Most Albertans have gone above and beyond in making sacrifices to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and yet there are some who refuse to follow public health orders and flaunt their non-compliance. There’s no excuse for this type of behaviour in the face of a public health crisis. The men and women of law enforcement will now have the authority to issue stiff penalties, up to $2,000, to recalcitrant individuals and organizations. Additionally, Alberta’s government has developed a new enforcement protocol that brings together law enforcement and all relevant government agencies to effectively target the more complex and flagrant cases of non-compliance and repeat offenders,” noted Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

“I know Albertans, even those who have carefully followed the health guidance and worked to keep not only themselves but their fellow Albertans safe, are tired. But if we can muster the strength to make it through these next few weeks, we will allow our vaccination program a chance to protect more Albertans, and in end, we will get COVID-19 under control in Alberta, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.

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:

All other public health measures remain in place, including masking and physical distancing requirements.

These measures apply to any region or community except those with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than 30 active cases.

This eliminates any distinction in restrictions for hot spot areas.

Municipalities below the regional threshold

Municipalities that have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases will be required to return to Step 0 level restrictions. This includes:

Strengthening enforcement

To reinforce the importance of following public health orders and the consequences of not doing so, fines will double to $2,000 for Public Health Act violations. To do this, an Order in Council will amend the Procedures Regulation of the Provincial Offences Procedure Act to enable the increased fines to take effect as soon as possible.

Repeat offenders, whether individuals, organizations or businesses, who are repeatedly or continually violating public health orders will be targeted with a new enforcement protocol. The protocol is now in place and will be used to coordinate a multi-agency response to repeat offenders.

If one organization is unable to gain compliance, a coalition of enforcement partners will work with each other to respond as quickly as possible with the most effective measures to gain compliance in that situation. The protocol also outlines steps for ongoing monitoring, which will assist authorities with deciding how to escalate legal and regulatory consequences against offenders that refuse to comply with previous enforcement measures.

Partners in the provincial group include Alberta Health Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Prosecution Service and local police services. Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis will also participate when cases involve licensees or activities under its jurisdiction.

As is the case with the public health orders themselves, the goal of this enforcement protocol is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the resulting threat to public health and strain on the health care system.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system

Quick facts: Municipalities below the regional threshold

As of May 4, the following municipalities have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases will be required to return to Step 0 level restrictions:

Jason Kenney at last night’s press conference.

YouTube photo capture

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