The government will declare a state of public health emergency later today, empowering authorities under the Public Health Act to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
Alberta’s Provincial Operations Centre has also been elevated from a level 3 to a level 4, the highest level as of Tues. March 17.
Effective immediately and until further notice, the Alberta government is implementing additional measures, including cancelling events that have more than 50 people.
“This is an unprecedented moment in our history and decisive action is needed. We recognize that these measures will have a profound impact on the lives of Albertans, but they are necessary in the face of this growing pandemic,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
“These measures are necessary if we are to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Our intention is to limit opportunities for disease transmission by limiting the amount of time Albertans are spending in large crowds and crowded spaces. All Albertans should take immediate action and follow all recommended public health measures. Protecting the health of Albertans is, and always will be, our top priority.”
The additional measures include: Mass gatherings are now limited to no more than 50 attendees. This includes worship gatherings and family events such as weddings.
Grocery stores, shopping centres, health-care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services are not included.
To limit the amount of time Albertans are spending in large crowds and crowded spaces, all Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.
Sit-down restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, food courts and other food-serving facilities, including those with a minors-allowed liquor license, are limited to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people. Take-out, delivery or drive-through service is permitted. Licensed facilities will also be permitted to deliver liquor.
At this time, not-for-profit community kitchens, soup kitchens and religious kitchens are exempt, but sanitization practices are expected to be in place and support will be in place for this practice.
Until further notice, all Albertans are restricted from attending bars and nightclubs, where minors are prohibited by law.
Municipalities, charitable and non-profit organizations providing social services support will immediately see $60 million to support their COVID-19 response.
The funding will be provided to adult homeless shelters, women’s emergency shelters and the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program, which supports municipalities and civil society organizations in providing services to vulnerable Albertans.
Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/COVID19 for the latest information, guidance and resources.