Alberta declares health emergency, adds restrictions in latest update

The printable vaccine card won't be available until September 19th, the government first told the public it'd be available on September 16th

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney introduced a strict and sweeping new measures to try and combat the spread of COVID-19, again.

Some of the new attempts to fight the virus will include people providing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry to participating businesses and social events. A choice created in the spring to move from a pandemic-to-endemic approach or learning to live with the virus, seemed like the right thing to do based on data from other jurisdictions with similar vaccination rates, Kenney told a news conference.

The province has also declared a state of public health emergency and is taking immediate action on the ongoing crisis in the health care system. Kenney added without interventions Alberta hospitals may run out of staff and ICU beds within the next 10 days.

New restrictions added:

The government added a "restrictions exemption program". Kenney was reluctant to bring in the program despite his previous concerns about vaccine passports. 

Under this program, vaccine eligible Albertans will be require to provide government-issued proof of immunization or a negative COVID-19 test to patronize businesses and social events that apply for exemptions under the program.

To enter these businesses, including restaurants, bars and indoor organized events, residents over the age of 12 will be required to show their proof of vaccine and or negative COVID-19 test result.

There will be new public health measures beginning today including,

  • Working from home will be mandatory unless an employer determines a physical presence is required.
  • Indoor private gatherings for fully vaccinated individuals are limited to a single household, plus one other household, to a maximum of 10 people. There are no restrictions on children under the age of 12.
  • Eligible people who are unvaccinated are not permitted to attend any indoor private social gathering.
  • Outdoor private social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people, with two-metre distancing maintained at all times.
  • Places of worship must limit attendance to one-third of fire code capacity. Face masks will be mandatory and physical distancing will be required between households.
  • No attendance restrictions on outdoor events and facilities, but two-metre physical distancing must be in place.
  • Schools will be required to have mandatory masking for students in Grade 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades. Exemptions will be available for schools with alternate safety plans.
  • Indoor children's sport and recreation activities are permitted, with requirements for physical distancing and masking where possible.

Other measures will take place on Monday,

  • Restaurants will be limited to outdoor dining only, with a maximum of six people per table. Liquor sales will continue to end at 10 p.m., consumption will stop at 11 p.m.
  • Indoor weddings and funerals will be limited to 50 attendees or 50 per cent fire code capacity. No indoor receptions will be permitted
  • Outdoor ceremonies for weddings and funerals must be limited to 200 people. Liquor restrictions will apply.
  • Attendance at retail, entertainment and recreation facilities will be limited to one-third fire code capacity. People will only be permitted to attend with their household or two close contacts for those living alone.
  • No indoor sport, fitness and recreation activities for adults will be permitted. One-on-one training or workouts will be permitted but with three-metre distancing.

ICU cases continue to climb:

Prior to the announcement, the province announced 1,609 new COVID-19 cases. There are more than 18,000 active cases - the most of any province. There are currently 877 people in hospital including a record 218 in ICU. Ontario which has three times the population compared to Alberta has 346 in hospital, 188 in ICU.

As ICU cases continue to climb, AHS has reached out to other provinces to ask if there are available beds or staff to treat its sick COVID-19 patients.

 

 

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