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As cases rise, could Alberta be heading for a temporary lockdown?

A pedestrian walks past long time business, Army and Navy Department Store as it gets boarded up and closes its doors, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday April 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Summary

Alberta recorded a record 1,105 cases on Thursday

Hundreds of health care professionals have petitioned the government for a lockdown

The CFIB says many businesses could close for good if they're forced to temporarily shut down

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It’s being referred to as an incoming tsunami: the growing spread of COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

But will this inevitably result in another lockdown for the province?

With case counts constantly breaking records in Alberta, including over 1,100 on Thursday, the province may need tougher, temporary restrictions and a bit of a reset according to health experts.

Alberta doctors and other health care groups believe we need to go into a “circuit-breaker” lockdown for two to four weeks, otherwise, the virus will continue to spread.

That suggestion, however, is not sitting well with many businesses and non-profit organizations.

President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Dan Kelly, said earlier in the week a strict lockdown wouldn’t have support from the business community.

“This is killing businesses, left right and centre. We have seen the tip of the iceberg of the impact of this. If we are going to shut down a business, we have to be ready with 100 per cent support.”

Some regions in Canada, including two in B.C. have recently adopted a circuit breaker, while Manitoba introduced a partial lockdown on Monday.

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Meanwhile, charities like the Salvation Army noted on Monday that demand this year is already at record highs. A spokesperson said they haven’t seen this high of a demand for assistance since after the Second World War.

Kelly worries another lockdown could mean many businesses shut down for good without government support.

“Despite what the Prime Minister said the other day, that’s not happening.”

A report last month from the CFIB showed confidence from small business owners has dropped since the beginning of the pandemic, with only half saying they feel optimistic about the future.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw has not ruled out a temporary lockdown, saying it is one of many options being discussed, but there are pros and cons to it.

“I think the circuit breaker idea is an interesting one. When we’re looking at all of our options, we know that there is no one perfect way to manage our COVID-19 experience, we need to look at all options on the table including that circuit breaker.”

Hundreds of doctors and union members in Alberta have been pressuring the government for a circuit breaker lockdown saying the health care system is already overwhelmed and contact tracers need a chance to catch up.