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Province orders non-essential businesses closed, further restricts gatherings

The provincial government is implementing further measures to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney says all dine-in restaurants are now ordered closed, except take-out, delivery, curbside pick-up, and drive-through. All non-essential retail stores have also been ordered to close, with similar exceptions, and provincial parks and public lands will be closed to public access.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but we must do everything we can to protect the safety of Albertans and limit the spread of COVID-19. Grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery services, and other essential businesses will continue to provide Albertans with the goods and services they need, and we’ll look to Alberta’s business leaders to find [innovative] ways to continue remote operations and protect jobs.”

A list of affected businesses is available online.

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Kenney also says the maximum size of group gatherings must be reduced from 50 down to 15, each keeping a distance of two metres. This includes family gatherings like weddings and funerals, as well as faith-based celebrations.

Workplaces that have not been ordered to close can continue to have more than 15 workers as long as they maintain public health measures, like two-metre social distancing, hygiene enforcement, and processes to ensure no one sick clocks in.

“These are aggressive measures and we don’t take them lightly,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep people healthy. I strongly encourage all Albertans to stay close to home as we are all in this together. Our collective action will protect our family, friends, and neighbours.”

Vehicle access has been temporarily suspended at access points to all provincial parks as well as provincial recreation areas. The restrictions do not apply to forestry or oil and gas operations.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta rose by 56 since Thursday bringing the total to 542. That’s including 30 in the North zone. There have been three more confirmed in the Peace River area.

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