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Should Alberta follow B.C. and consider a circuit breaker lockdown?

Last Updated Mar 31, 2021 at 8:21 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) — Residents in B.C. are back to eating at home as that province announces a three-week circuit breaker, and with rising variant numbers, should Alberta follow?

That would mean restaurants, fitness centres, and ski resorts are potentially shut down.

“If there is going to be any restrictions then it should be done as soon as possible to have an effect,” said Dr. Kirsten Fiest, an epidemiologist from the University of Calgary. “That being said, if people don’t follow the public health restrictions themselves then obviously a circuit breaker would be limited in effectiveness.”

With Easter just around the corner, health experts are worried and say it’s not too late to break the chain of infection with restrictions.

READ MORE: Over half of 576 new cases recorded are COVID-19 variants

“If Alberta also adopts that, I don’t think it’s too late, because as we approach Easter, people tend to socialize, they want to travel, meet friends, you want to enjoy the season, but with restrictions in place its very important to break the chain of infection,” said Dr. Olumuyiwa Igbalajobi, a Postdoctoral Fellow of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia.

To control the spread of variants, some medical experts are calling for a lockdown, but those in the hospitality industry say another lockdown would have dire circumstances.

“The reaction is always going to be ‘Where is the evidence and where is the data?'” said Ernie Tsu, the president of the Alberta Hospitality Association, as well as owner of Trolley 5. “The fear this time though is that there is going to be a number of our industry that will not close unless the data is presented.

What is happening in B.C. is not a circuit breaker. A circuit breaker is a full lockdown closure. That means high schools, that means malls, that means everybody, and that truly is important to understand if we are all in this together. We cannot keep rolling forward as targeted industries.”

The hospitality industry says there have been COVID-19 breakouts at a few restaurants in the province but that does not mean that the entire industry is at fault, as they take all necessary precautions to keep people safe.