/Alberta imposing restrictions on restaurants, retail stores, gyms amid third COVID-19 wave | Edmonton Journal

Alberta imposing restrictions on restaurants, retail stores, gyms amid third COVID-19 wave | Edmonton Journal

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In a statement posted to Twitter, city manager Andre Corbould said the City of Edmonton will be looking at how the restrictions will affect their services.

“As of midnight tonight, all individual reservations and one on one personal trainer bookings at recreation centres are cancelled,” Corbould said. “We want to ensure that Edmontonians, along with those who work at the city, are as safe as possible.”

Additional information on the city’s pandemic response will be provided Wednesday morning at an emergency advisory committee meeting.

Performance activities which include dancing, singing, acting and playing a musical instrument will also not be permitted while libraries will be closed until further notice, however, they can continue with providing online services.

Starting at noon on Friday, indoor dining at restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafes will not be allowed. Takeout, curb-side pickup, and delivery services may continue and outdoor patios will be allowed to stay open for bars and restaurants.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said with the warmer weather and lower risk of exposure outdoors, the province decided to keep patios open. However, there will continue to be a maximum of six people per table and from within the same household. People who live alone will be able to dine outdoors with their two close contacts.

“These measures are designed to buy us time to get enough Albertans vaccinated so we can finally get through this thing,” Kenney said.

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No new changes were announced for schools or religious institutions.

Kenney said the province will provide a package of additional financial assistance to businesses affected by the new measures, with more details expected to come soon.

A full list of the new restrictions can be found at alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Additional measures ‘necessary’: Kenney

The new restrictions come after Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, pleaded with Albertans on Thursday to follow the restrictions.

Kenney said Tuesday he believes the current measures would have been enough if people would have complied with them, but there was growing evidence of non-compliance from “COVID fatigue.”

“Unfortunately, we are continuing to see accelerated growth driven by the variants and concluded that these additional measures were necessary,” Kenney said.

Alberta reported 931 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after 9,126 tests were completed for a positivity rate of about 10.2 per cent. Another 676 more cases of variants of concern were also identified.

Kenney said with the rising cases of variants, it is expected they will become the dominant COVID-19 strain in Alberta in the next week.

Across the province, there are 10,809 active cases, which is an increase of 27 per cent in the last week Kenney said. Of the active cases, 4,604 or 42.6 per cent are variants.

There are 328 people in hospital, an increase of 16 from Monday. Of those, 76 are in intensive care units, which remains unchanged.

NDP health critic David Shepherd said he is glad the premier has decided to close in-person dining. But he criticized the government for not offering additional support for schools and not being prepared with more details on the supports that are coming for businesses.

“The government owns this plan and the (COVID) response,” Schilling said in a statement on Twitter. “They can change it to include this so we can keep our schools and communities safe. They also own the failure in not making this much needed, and asked for change.”

Kenney also announced a ramp-up of the province’s vaccine rollout. Effective Wednesday at 8 a.m. all Albertans eligible under Phase 2B – those 16 or older with eligible high-risk underlying health conditions – will be able to sign up for vaccinations.