Premier Jason Kenney says with COVID-19 numbers still rising, the province’s health-care system will be tested in the coming weeks. (photography by Winston Pon/Office of the Premier)

Premier Jason Kenney says with COVID-19 numbers still rising, the province’s health-care system will be tested in the coming weeks. (photography by Winston Pon/Office of the Premier)

‘Please stay home’: Kenney imposes new COVID-19 restrictions

New measures will be in place for at least three weeks

Alberta is imposing new, wide-ranging COVID-19 restrictions in order to protect the health-care system from crumbling.

In a short address Tuesday night, Premier Jason Kenney announced sweeping COVID-19 public health measures that will be in place for the next three weeks. The new set of rules apply to municipalities or areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people or 30 or more active COVID-19 cases. This would include all central Alberta communities except Drumheller.

“If you can stay home please stay home, at least over the next three weeks. I know all of this is discouraging to hear, nobody wants to be here, especially after 14 months with multiple waves of this pandemic,” said Kenney.

“But our commitment to the health and safety of Albertans must come first.”

Starting Friday, kindergarten to Grade 12 students across the province will move to online learning until May 25.

All post-secondary institutions must shift to online learning Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, outdoor gatherings are reduced from 10 to five people, with a strong recommendation to keep those gatherings to just two people. Retail services must limit customer capacity to 10 per cent of occupancy.

Related:

Red Deer COVID-19 cases keep climbing

Funerals are limited to 10 people and faith services are allowed to have up to 15 people instead of the previous 15 per cent.

Workplaces with three or more COVID-19 cases will close for 10 days, except for essential and critical services. Kenney advised those who can work from home, should do so.

On Sunday at midnight, patio service at bars and restaurants across the province will close and move to take-out only.

Gyms, hair and nail salons and barbershops will also have to close Sunday at midnight for at least three weeks.

As of Sunday, all outdoor sports and recreation are now prohibited except with members of your household or, if living alone, two close contacts. This includes all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes, training sessions, one-on-one lessons and training activities and practices, training and games.

The premier also announced that the fine for violating public health orders will be doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 and the province will be introducing a tougher protocol for repeat offenders.

“We will not tolerate those who endanger Albertans, while the vast majority of people are doing the right thing,” he said.

Related:

COVID-19: Stronger public health measures expected Tuesday

The new restrictions came just a week after the province imposed targeted measures on communities and regional COVID-19 hot spots including Red Deer.

“Governments must not impair people’s rights or their livelihoods, unless it is absolutely necessary to save lives or in this case, to prevent disaster from unfolding in our hospitals,” he said.

“Unfortunately, that is the situation we are facing today. The arrival of high transmissible variants is putting real pressure on our health-care system.”

Kenney noted that with more than 200 people in the ICU across the province and COVID-19 numbers still rising, the province’s health-care system will be tested in the coming weeks.

He said the province can open up to 425 ICU beds, but that would require mass cancellations of surgeries and other care.

“We will not permit our health-care system to be overwhelmed. We must not and we will not force out doctors and nurses to decide who gets care and who doesn’t,” he said.

“That is why we must act now.”

Some municipalities with 50 cases per 100,000 people or less than 30 active cases will follow slightly different restrictions.

These communities still must close all indoor fitness facilities, close all indoor fitness facilities and indoor sports. Outdoor recreation can continue with up to 10 people and all outdoor social gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people. Funerals in these communities will be limited to no more than 20 people. Drumheller is the only central Alberta community that falls in this category.



Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

(Photo Courtesy of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will not pilot draft curriculum

RDCRS is one of many divisions in the area to opt out of the pilot of the K-6 draft curriculum

Pay parking station on 50A Street in Sylvan Lake. (File Photo)
Resident Parking program returns to Sylvan Lake this weekend

The programs runs from May 15 to Sept. 15 every year

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province’s official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Craig Bihrl
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium, scientist says

Jeff Kneteman says Alberta Environment has known about the problem in bighorn sheep for years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

There aren’t any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming, and the province only has 8,400 doses of it left

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

Most Read