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Alberta

Alberta relaunch moves into Stage Two on Friday

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8 minute read

From the Province of Alberta

Alberta moves to stage two of relaunch

Strong testing data shows active COVID-19 cases in Alberta are lower than expected, meaning stage two of the relaunch strategy can safely begin on June 12, a week sooner than expected.

Albertans can enjoy additional activities in their daily lives while the province continues to open up the economy.

“Albertans have demonstrated the care and common sense needed to move forward with our relaunch earlier than initially planned. Our data tells us our active cases are low, hospitalizations are trending downward and people are taking action to protect those most vulnerable and prevent the spread of the virus. We will continue to move forward together to overcome any tough times ahead, but responsible Albertans should be proud of the vigilance they have shown to date.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

Current data from June 8 show only 355 active cases and 44 people in hospital across Alberta. This is a decrease of almost 70 per cent in active cases since May 14 – when the province began stage one of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy. With its robust approach to testing, Alberta has performed more COVID-19 tests per capita than most other jurisdictions in the world.

As the province enters stage two of relaunch, safety remains the top priority. More businesses, sport and recreation services can open if they are ready. Some larger gatherings for seated audience events will be permitted. In all cases, public health guidance must be followed.

A new interactive map will help Albertans understand the level of risk in their community and learn about any enhanced health measures at the local level, giving additional information on what they need to do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and protected. Currently, no communities in Alberta need locally targeted enhanced measures.

“More Albertans can now return to work and to the activities so many of us enjoy. However, I encourage you to do it safely. Think of the people in your life who may be at high risk from COVID-19 and protect all those around you as you would want your loved ones protected. Stay home if you are sick. Stay two metres apart and wear a non-medical mask if you can’t. Consider downloading the ABTraceTogether app, and wash your hands often.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health

What can open with restrictions

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • Libraries
  • More surgeries
  • Wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, artificial tanning)
  • Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • Movie theatres and theatres
  • Community halls
  • Team sports
  • Pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • Casinos and bingo halls (but not table games)
  • Instrumental concerts

The 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is also being lifted. Over the coming days, the online reservation system will be updated and sites will come online in phases. By July 1, all camping sites will be open for reservations. First-come, first-served sites may open sooner. Information on additional sites will be added to alberta.parks.ca when they become available.

Events and gatherings can be larger in stage two

Maximum 50 people:

  • Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties

Maximum 100 people:

  • Outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events – including wedding and funeral ceremonies

No cap on the number of people (with public health measures and physical distancing in place):

  • Worship gatherings
  • Restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls

There is more flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep two metres apart:

  • A household can increase its close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
  • Performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
  • Sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
  • People could be part of a sports/performing and household cohort

Everyone is encouraged to follow public health guidelines and notify others in the cohort(s) if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If they do test positive or have symptoms, mandatory isolation is required.

Still not approved in stage two

  • Social gatherings that exceed above listed maximums
  • Regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12. Classes will resume September 2020
  • Vocal concerts (as singing carries a higher risk of transmission)
  • Major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events (as these are non-seated social events and/or vocal concerts)
  • Nightclubs
  • Amusement parks
  • Hookah lounges (permitted for food and drink only)
  • Major sporting events and tournaments
  • Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until stage three of the relaunch strategy.

The success of stage two will determine when Alberta progresses to stage three. Factors are active cases, health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates. For more information, visit alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy.

Quick facts

  • Relaunch stages include an evaluation and monitoring period to determine if restrictions should be adjusted. Triggers that will inform decisions include active cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy.
  • Active cases, the percentage of positive results and the rate of infection will be monitored to inform proactive responses in localized areas of the province.
  • Decisions will be applied at both provincial and local levels, where necessary. While restrictions are gradually eased across the province, an outbreak may mean that they need to be strengthened temporarily in a local area.
  • Physical distancing and good hygiene are the most important measures to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
  • Clean your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, and dispose of tissues appropriately.

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After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta adds 700 enforcers to stop COVID-19 rule-breakers as hospitalizations climb

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CALGARY — Alberta is giving 700 more peace officers the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as hospitalizations for the virus continue to climb in the province. 

“We are not asking these officers to stop cold their day-to-day priorities or to harass responsible Albertans going about their everyday lives,” Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Friday, as Alberta reported 1,227 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. 

Police officers and health inspectors also have the ability to enforce the rules. 

Federal data shows that as of Friday, Alberta had the highest seven-day infection rate in Canada with 209 cases per 100,000 people. 

Alberta has 405 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. A week ago, there were 55 patients in intensive care with COVID-19. 

Postponing surgeries is one of the ways the province is freeing up space to accommodate more people severely ill with the virus. 

New measures came into effect Friday to help blunt the spike in cases. Private indoor social gatherings are banned, capacity limits have been imposed on stores and students between grades 7 and 12 switch to remote learning on Monday. 

Fines for breaking the rules range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that make it to court. 

When asked whether there would be crackdowns on anti-mask rallies, Madu said police will make independent decisions. 

“But as minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable.”

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she is disappointed to hear about Alberta Health Services inspectors being verbally abused. 

“Nobody deserves that, least of all the people who are working to keep all of us safe,” she said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. 

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Growth investing needed as pandemic wanes, says former BoC governor David Dodge

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge says Canada must shift its attention to investing for economic growth as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn over the next few years.

In an online presentation at the virtual Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum, the former central bank chief said Canadian governments and businesses will have to continue to borrow money in 2021 and 2022.

But he added borrowing of $400 billion to date this year for the federal government and $100 billion for the provinces — about 20 per cent of Canadian GDP — should be reduced going forward and directed to growth areas rather than “consumption,” as has been the case to date.

The business forum is normally held in Lake Louise, Alta., in conjunction with World Cup alpine ski races, but both the races and the in-person conference were called off this year because of the pandemic.

Dodge says he’s expecting about 3.9 per cent economic growth in Canada in 2021, assuming vaccines are widely available after the second quarter, and 1.9 per cent in 2022. 

He says the pace of growth should return to 2019 levels by the spring of 2022, but national output will still be three per cent lower than it would have been without COVID-19.

Dodge said a key challenge for Canada going forward is to continue to develop its technology expertise to compete with the growing influence of China.

“COVID has accelerated the transformation to a truly digital world and to Asia as it’s epicentre,” he said.

“Canada can thrive in this world as long as Canadian businesses, workers and governments work together and focus on investing in the future, not in preserving the past.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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november, 2020

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