Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says the province had a difficult decision to make when it came to bringing in more COVID-19 restrictions, but it doesn’t change the impact felt by local families and businesses.

“We recognize everybody is in a tough position to balance different needs, to protect loves ones in your life. It’s even tougher on business owners and families as they prepare for the next weeks ahead.”

On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced stricter health measures to address the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Included in the restrictions, 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. The number of people who can gather outdoors has been slashed from 10 to five, with residents being asked to limit such gatherings to two family cohorts.

Clayton says the municipality didn’t know what to expect when it came to the added restrictions, however, she wants residents to remember that their diligence in sticking to COVID-19 health restrictions is greatly appreciated.

“We recognize people are tired, and increasingly, [seeing] constant changes, and having to adapt, has put people in a tough position. It’s important for us to understand that the community has worked hard to fight COVID-19 for over a year, and have demonstrated incredible resilience.”

The province is also doubling the fine for Public Health Act violations to $2,000, with suggestions that tougher enforcement will also be introduced for repeat offenders.