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New Alberta COVID-19 restrictions include ban on indoor social gatherings, closed schools

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 @ 10:35 AM | By Ian Burns

Alberta has declared a public health emergency and brought in new restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Effective immediately, mandatory restrictions on social gatherings are in effect provincewide. No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting, including workplaces, and outdoor social gatherings are being limited to a maximum of 10 people. Funeral services and wedding ceremonies must follow all public health guidance and are limited to a maximum of 10 in-person attendees. Receptions are not permitted.

“We are taking strong, targeted new measures to protect both lives and livelihoods and bend the COVID-19 curve back down,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “Without these measures, we will soon have to cancel thousands of surgeries and other health services. Albertans must act together to protect the vulnerable.”

Starting Nov. 27, business and service restrictions fall under three categories: closed for in-person business, open with restrictions and open by appointment only. More information on the categories can be found here. These measures will remain in place for three weeks, but will be extended if needed.

“The growth rate of COVID-19 cases is alarming. Even with the new measures, because of the lag time between announcing and impact, additional health system measures such as cancelling urgent surgeries may be needed temporarily to ensure hospitals can cope with COVID-related illness,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Deena Hinshaw. “All Albertans must take these additional measures very seriously, as this virus is highly contagious. Only by working together can we protect each other, reduce the spread and protect our health system.”

In the school system, all classes in Grades 7 to 12 will move to at-home learning on Nov. 30. Students in early childhood services and kindergarten to Grade 6 will remain in-class until Dec. 18. All students will return to at-home learning after the winter break and resume in-person learning on Jan. 11.

And new mandatory mask requirements for indoor workplaces are in place in Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding areas. This includes any location where employees are present, and applies to visitors, including delivery personnel and employees or contractors.

Not following mandatory restrictions could result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.

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