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Will Albertans follow restrictions during holidays?

Last Updated Dec 11, 2020 at 1:19 pm MST

Farm decorated with Christmas lights. (iStock Photo)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — In a matter of days new restrictions will be upon us to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the guidelines take us through the holiday season.

We have been told at times it’s going to be a dark winter and we may be feeling a bit of it as indoor and outdoor gatherings have been prohibited.

But will Albertans follow these guidelines in an attempt to bend the curve?

A sociology professor at Mount Royal University Timothy Haney says it’s easier to follow the rules if there is trust between the public and government.

“People will follow orders that come top-down if they have a high level of trust, if there (are) general feelings of trust toward those who are making decisions,” Haney said.

When the announcement was made on Tuesday, Haney said it sounded like there was doubt behind the message.

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“The premier almost doubted his own words. Or was having second thoughts (about) what he was saying.

“Although the messaging was clear, I’m not sure if he conveyed in confidence that this was the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do. You know sometimes I think in crisis situations people need clear communication, but they also need extremely persuasive communication.”

And that messaging could also have come from Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“She’s wonderful, but her demeanour is very calm, and rational and reassuring. And I think ultimately that’s good, but I think in this scenario the public needed a bit of a kick in the backside,” Haney said.

And a recent poll Haney saw showed about a 50/50 split of Albertans who would follow the guidelines over the holidays, which is concerning.

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“There is a significant portion of Calgarians — and probably a significant portion of Albertans — who probably think the restrictions went too far and don’t intend to follow all of them over the holidays, which is troubling because it might mean that when January comes around we’re right back to where we are now,” he added.

University of Calgary Public Policy professor Lisa Young adds the argument of vaccines being near meaning we don’t have to follow restrictions does not hold up.

“I think anyone who’s paying any attention to this, knows that vaccines are not coming any time soon for the general population,” Young said.

It was also reiterated by Haney.

“The reality is that you don’t have immunity and immune response for a number of days or weeks after you’ve been vaccinated. So, the idea you can get exposed to it and then get vaccinated at some point later, it doesn’t make scientific sense. Vaccines cannot bring you back from the dead,” Haney said.

Young adds there could also be people not willing to adjust plans they’ve already made and ignore restrictions.

“I think the only people who are going to think it’s OK to ignore the restrictions because there is a vaccine available, are people who are going to be inclined to ignore the restrictions anyways.”