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No indoor personal gatherings among new COVID-19 restrictions for Alberta

Last Updated Nov 25, 2020 at 7:59 am MDT

EDMONTON – Premier Jason Kenney tacked on a few new restrictions for Alberta Tuesday as the province struggles to get control of COVID-19.

Kenney joined Dr. Deena Hinshaw for her daily briefing to declare a state of public health emergency. It comes as Alberta records another day with well over 1,000 cases.

Kenney said the province is moving from recommendations to rules, shutting down private social gatherings, which he said are the biggest culprit when it comes to the spread of the virus in the province.

Starting Friday, no indoor social gatherings will be permitted and outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 10 people.

Weddings and funerals will be also be limited to 10 attendees.

More restrictions will be added to local businesses, including the closure of concert venues, conference centres, and banquet halls in target areas.

Sports must stop for the time being, unless there is specific consent from Hinshaw. Children’s indoor play places must close.

WATCH: Alberta health restrictions update Nov. 24

 

Retailers won’t be forced to close, but must operate at a 25 per cent capacity. Salons may also remain open but will operate on an appointment-only basis.

Restaurants can stay open but those dining in must stick with their own household members. Previously-introduced rules for bars and restaurants–ending liquor service by 10 p.m. and closing by 11 p.m.–have been extended.

All indoor businesses in the Edmonton and Calgary health zones are now subject to mandatory mask mandates–something many cities and towns in those zones already had in place.

Some students will be shifted to at-home learning and diploma exams will also be optional for the rest of the year. Grades 7-12 will begin online school Nov. 30 and will go until Jan. 11.

Winter break will run from Dec. 18 to Jan. 11.

Worship services must continue to operate at one-third of the building’s capacity.

Entertainment services–movie theatres, casinos, museums, libraries, etc.–can remain open but must operate at 25 per cent capacity.

“We’re taking these measures now so that we have a chance to review where we’re at before Christmas, which is so important to so many as a source of comfort and family,” said Kenney.

“If we do not slow the sharp rise of both hospitalizations and ICU admissions, they will threaten our ability to continue delivering health services that we all rely on.”

The measures will be in effect until mid-December but can be extended if COVID-19 case numbers don’t go down.

“If we see a significant drop in our new daily cases, we may be able to ease them. But, let me be blunt. If these measures do not have a meaningful impact, and that depends on how each one of us responds, we will be forced to take even more drastic measures to protect the health care system later in December,” Kenney said.

Kenney said an emergency alert will go out to Albertan’s phones as a reminder of the new restrictions when they come into effect.

Hinshaw announced 1,115 new infections and an additional 16 deaths Tuesday.

-with files from Cole Fortner and Sam Pike