If you can stay home, please stay home, at least for the next three weeks. That was the message from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney Tuesday evening as he announced stricter health measures to address the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
Almost all will come into effect on May 5th and remain for at least three weeks for municipalities or areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases.
Among them, all students from Kindergarten to grade 12 will transition to at-home learning starting Friday until May 25th. All post-secondary classes will also move online starting May 5th.
As of 11:59 p.m. Sunday night, personal and wellness services like hair, tanning, and nail salons, as well as tattoo shops, will close for a three week period. All workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks will be ordered to close for 10 days, with the exception of critical workplaces, as of May 5th.
Starting May 5th as well, retail stores will have to limit customer capacity to 10 per cent of what’s allowed under the fire code or a minimum of five customers. Places of worship will be limited to 15 people and funerals to 10 people. All in-person dining will also close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, including patios. Health and professional services like massage therapy, dentists, accountants, and lawyers will be by appointment only.
Outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people with a strong recommendation they be restricted to no more than two family cohorts. Outdoor sports and recreation will be limited to households and close contacts only, and youth and adult performance will not be permitted.
Municipalities that have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases will be required to return to Step 0 level restrictions. In the Peace Country, those include Clear Hills County, Birch Hills County, County of Northern Lights, Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133, Municipal District of Smoky River No. 130, Municipal District of Fairview No. 136, Municipal District of Greenview No. 16, and Northern Sunrise County.
The province is also doubling the fine for Public Health Act violations to $2,000, and Kenney says there will be tougher enforcement for repeat offenders.