A hotel in Peace River is one of 16 facilities across the province that are being utilized for expanded temporary COVID-19 self-isolation housing. The province announced the additions Tuesday in the hopes of encouraging people to use them if needed.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he acknowledges many Albertans may not be able to easily self-isolate at home, despite potential risks and challenges of remaining at home. He explains the province aims to make the time in the hotels as easy and affordable as possible.

“The message is clear. If you’ve been asked by Alberta Health to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or even if you haven’t been asked… but you cannot self-isolate at home, we are here with real help.”

The option to use hotel rooms has been available since the spring, but Kenney says few people have taken the option, noting it’s likely most don’t know it’s available.

People in high transmission areas who test positive for COVID-19 will be eligible for a 14-day free-of-charge hotel room stay, including culturally appropriate food. They will also be eligible for $625 of temporary financial aid when they complete their self-isolation.

Kenney says the temporary financial aid is the same benefit and incentive as someone who is displaced by an event such as a natural disaster would be eligible to receive.

“My view is vulnerable people affected by this public health emergency who do the right thing by self-isolating need similar support to be safe.”

The other hotels being utilized in this fashion include six locations in Calgary and nine in Edmonton.