Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)

Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)

Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

High schools shift to online learning, businesses face new restrictions

With 16 new deaths and COVID-19 case numbers over 1,000 Tuesday, Alberta’s premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency and leveled stricter measures to try and curb the spread of the virus.

After four days of record-setting COVID-19 case numbers, cabinet ministers met late into the night Monday to discuss the new measures, based on recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. The additional measures also come in the wake of Ontario and Manitoba each enacting more stringent COVID-19 restrictions.

Kenney said Alberta’s new targeted measures placed new restrictions on social gatherings, worship services, businesses and schools will be in place for three weeks, until Dec. 15.

“These steps are not being taken lightly,” the premier said.

“I didn’t go into public service, nor did any of the people sitting around our cabinet table, in order to impose restrictions on how people live their lives. But we believe these are the minimum restrictions needed right now to safeguard our health care system, will avoiding widespread damage to people’s livelihood.”

No indoor social gatherings will be permitted across the province and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 1o people. Weddings and funerals will be limited to 10 people. Kenney said any who breaks the rules will be subject to fines up to $1,000 for ticketed violations.

Kenney also made masks mandatory in all indoor workplaces in Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding zones, where 83 per cent of the province’s cases exist.

Students in Grades 7-12 will shift to online learning on Nov. 30. On Dec. 18, all students will begin winter break. All students will return to school on Jan. 11. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of the school year.

Sports are also on pause unless given an exemption by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

In faith venues, they will be allowed gatherings of one-third of fire-code limits and masks are required.

In businesses, there are three different categories: closed, open with restrictions and open by appointment only. Effective Friday, certain businesses in select regions will be closed, including, banquet halls, conference centres and concert venues.

Retail businesses and services can remain open but will be restricted to 25 per cent of occupancy. Indoor dining at restaurants will remain open.

“As the premier noted, the point of these measures is to interrupt and slow the spread of the virus, while still allowing businesses to work in ways that are safe throughout the province,” said Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Health Minister.

The provincial government reported 1,115 new cases Tuesday and now has 13,166 active cases of the virus. There were 13,576 tests completed over the last 24 hours, meaning the test positivity rate is over eight per cent.

There were 16 new deaths bringing the total to 492, while 348 people are in the hospital and 66 of those are in the ICU. The Central zone now has 830 cases.

Red Deer now has 141 active cases of the virus, according to the government’s geospatial mapping on the municipality setting. Red Deer County has 49 active cases and Lacombe County has 29 active cases. Sylvan Lake has 29 active and Olds has 14 Both Mountain View and Kneehill County each have 14 cases. Ponoka County has 220 active cases and the County of Wetaskiwin has 20 active. The City of Wetaskiwin has 63 cases and Camrose has 50. Camrose County has 19 active.

Kenney added that in order for the restrictions to be eased, the rate of transmission needs to get below one.

“This pandemic is a once in a century health challenge and it has impacted every one of us in many different ways,” he said Tuesday before he announced the new measures.

“There is no one single way through this pandemic and any decision impacts the lives of our friends and neighbours.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)

Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)

Just Posted

The first pages of the book, by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Devin Dreeshen. (Photo Submitted)
Ag Minister announces 20% off crop insurance for Alberta farmers

Dreeshen says this will support job creators and boosting rural economy during a difficult time

An x-ray tech demonstrates the new equipment in use. (Photo Submitted)
New diagnostic equipment now operational at Sylvan Lake AACS

In August it was announced that Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori donated $850,000 to AACS

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
*MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Most Read