Connect with us

Alberta

List of “non-essential businesses” – Alberta COVID-19 update

Published

12 minute read

Update 14: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 27 at 8:30 p.m.)

From the Province of Alberta

Fifty-six additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 542.

To protect Albertans and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the province has introduced new restrictions on mass gatherings and specific types of businesses.

Latest updates

  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 337 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 120 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 30 cases in the North zone
    • 43 cases in the Central zone
    • 12 cases in the South zone
  • Of these cases, 23 are currently hospitalized, including 10 admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
  • In total, there have been 34 hospitalizations, with 11 admissions to an ICU.
  • Two deaths have been reported.
  • Up to 42 of the 542 cases may be due to community transmission.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed March 24 at the Nelson Home, a Calgary group home for persons with developmental disabilities. Two care workers and a resident have tested positive for COVID-19, and two other residents have been tested, with one negative result and no results available yet on a second. All individuals are self-isolating.
  • To date, 20 cases have been identified in staff and residents of continuing care facilities, including 15 in McKenzie Towne Long Term Care, one case in Rosedale on the Park and four at Shepherd’s Care Kensington Village.
  • There are six new confirmed recovered cases, bringing the total to 33.
  • Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
  • All Albertans need to work together to help prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19.
  • Public access to all courthouses in Alberta is restricted, and the Court of Queen’s Bench has updated the process of requesting emergency/urgent hearings.

Increased security for Alberta renters

A new package of direct supports and deferrals is being provided to provide security for residential renters amid the financial burden brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Tenants will be protected from eviction for non-payment before May 1, 2020, rents will not increase during the state of public health emergency and late fees cannot be applied to rent payments for three months.

Vehicle restrictions in parks and recreation areas

Automobile access is temporarily suspended at all provincial park and recreation area access points. This matches the restrictions currently in place at national parks.

New restrictions on non-essential businesses

New restrictions are in place for close contact businesses, dine-in restaurants and non-essential retail services.

Non-essential retail services include:

  • Gift and specialty stores
  • Jewellery & accessories
  • Non-essential health and beauty care
  • Luggage
  • Art and framing
  • Mens’, ladies’ and children’s wear
  • Shoes
  • Bridal
  • Computers & gaming
  • Hobby & Toy
  • Photo, music and books
  • Sporting goods

List of essential workplaces

The list of essential workplaces that can continue to operate in Alberta can be found here.

New restrictions on mass gatherings

In addition, Albertans are prohibited from attending gatherings of more than 15 people, and they must continue to observe two metres of social distancing. Additional information can be found in this news release.

Recruiting physicians

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta has developed an online tool for Alberta physicians to self-report their ability to be redeployed to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the College has identified doctors who can provide additional services, AHS will help with recruitment and ensure the doctors are deployed to the areas of greatest need where they will have the most impact.

Operating guide for continuing care

A new guide with mandated directions on how to respond to and prevent COVID-19 concerns and cases has been posted online for operators of continuing care facilities, seniors lodges, residential addiction treatment facilities and licensed facilities for person with disabilities.

Diagnostic imaging and lab tests

Effective immediately, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is postponing some diagnostic imaging procedures as part of the effort to prevent spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans. Imaging deemed to be non-urgent by the ordering physician will be postponed.

AHS will work closely with patients whose exams are being rescheduled. Patients whose conditions change should connect with their physicians.

To free up more laboratory space for COVID-19 testing, physicians and community providers are being asked to immediately stop all non-essential and routine laboratory testing.

Flexibility for municipal governments

Government has added a new COVID-19 containment measure under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) called the COVID-19 Suppression Regulation. This gives local governments flexibility in doing business during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the option to hold meetings while still observing physical distancing. Municipal Affairs has extended a number of reporting timelines under the MGA, giving municipalities the time and ability to deliver on the needs of their residents and meet the requirements set out by the Act.

Mental health supports

AHS has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.

If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.

This change will support 811 operators to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.

Pausing some health construction projects and non-essential service contracts
In order to protect patients, families and staff providing key services inside health-care facilities, AHS has informed some contractors and vendors that provide non-essential services at some health facilities that their projects will be temporarily paused.

These include non-essential delivery services and facility maintenance, such as flooring replacement, departmental renovations or lighting retrofit projects.

Alberta Infrastructure is also working with AHS to ensure that construction projects being done inside health facilities do not impact the operations of the facility.

As each project is reviewed and assessed, Infrastructure will provide notice to affected contractors if any projects are deferred.

Emergency isolation supports

Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the Emergency Isolation Support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.

Access to justice

Effective March 30, 2020, public access to all courthouses in Alberta will be restricted until further notice. Members of the general public will only be permitted to enter a courthouse in certain circumstances. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/notice-to-the-public-and-legal-profession-restricted-access-to-courthouses.

The Court of Queen’s Bench is accepting requests for emergency/urgent hearings in all criminal, family, commercial and civil matters online or over the phone (for parties without access to the internet). More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/requests-to-the-court-for-emergency-urgent-hearings.

Food supply

Despite higher retail demand, Alberta’s food supply remains secure. Government is in regular contact with other levels of government, producers, distributors, retailers and processors to ensure it stays that way. We are working with food banks and Indigenous communities to understand their needs and ensure everyone has access to the food supplies they need.

Medical evaluation for drivers’ licences

Alberta Transportation has extended the timeline to 90 days for most drivers requiring a medical evaluation to complete their medical form when applying for or renewing their licence. This will reduce the current strain on the health-care system. Medically high-risk drivers will still be required to present their medical evaluation at the time of their application or renewal.

Offers of help

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program has been set up in response to growing offers of generosity from individuals and organizations to help with the challenges many Albertans are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those wanting to help can go toalberta.ca/COVID19offersprogram for more information.

Quick facts

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

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.

Follow Author

Alberta

Cargill workers in Alberta vote 71 per cent in favour of contract offer

Published on

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — The threat of a strike at an Alberta beef processing plant has been averted after workers accepted the owner’s latest offer.

The union that represents about 2,000 workers at the Cargill beef plant in High River says its members have voted 71 per cent in favour of accepting the company’s contract.

In a statement, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 401 says the contract is “the best of its kind and presented unprecedented gains in this time of economic and political uncertainty.”

It also says it was reached “during the biggest health crisis the world has ever seen.”

Jarrod Gillig, the business operations and supply chain president for Cargill’s North American protein business, says the deal is “comprehensive” and” fair,” adding it reflects their employees’  “commitment to excellence.”

A company spokesman had previously said the deal offered a six-year collective agreement that includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits.

“As an organization that leads with our value to put people first, we truly believe this ratification is in the best interests of our employees and we are eager to move forward to build a stronger future – together,” Gillig said in a statement Saturday.

Workers voted 98 per cent last month against Cargill’s previous offer, and the union had said workers would strike if a contract agreement couldn’t be reached.

Cargill and the union had been at loggerheads for some time over issues related to wages as well as health and safety.

In May of 2020, Cargill’s High River plant was the site of a major workplace-related outbreak of COVID-19. More than 900 workers tested positive for the virus, and three deaths were linked to the outbreak.

“A victory has been won and this is a day to celebrate,” said a statement from the UFCW Local 401, which had recommended acceptance of the contract offer.

“The injustices at Cargill, however, are not made right by the contract. Local 401 and its activists look to the future to enforce the new rights of Cargill workers in this unprecedented collective agreement.”

The deal also gives workers a $1,000 signing bonus and a $1,000 “COVID-19 bonus,” the union said earlier.

The union’s statement noted it had made extensive preparations for a strike. It said tents were erected in front of the plant, floodlights and propane heaters were brought in, nearby fields were levelled so that hundreds of workers could park, and a picketing payroll system was nearly complete.

The statement also noted that in Brooks, Alta., 2,500 employees who process beef at the JBS Plant are watching the Cargill precedent carefully. In the New Year, the union said it will head into bargaining for a new contract.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Alberta

Health policy expert says trust needed for Alberta overdose response app to work

Published on

CALGARY — A health policy expert says Alberta’s app to keep drug users safe in the event of an overdose is a worthy endeavour, but she’s concerned fear could prevent many from using it.

Elaine Hyshka, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, says drug users may be concerned about privacy or worry that police could show up at their door if the app activates while they are overdosing.

The Digital Overdose Response System, which is already in use in Calgary, Edmonton and their surrounding communities, has a timer, and if users doesn’t respond within a certain time after consuming a narcotic, EMS is dispatched to their homes.

Premier Jason Kenney, who has faced criticism for his government’s closure of safe-injection sites, told a news conference Saturday at a drug recovery centre in Calgary that many people who die of opioid overdoses are in the suburbs, far from the sites. 

Kenney says the app will still connect with them with the help they need if they pass out while using drugs.

But Hyshka says the province has lots of work to do to get drug users to trust the app.

“What we’ve seen in other jurisdictions that have had these apps for much longer, like British Columbia, is that they’re useful for some people but they’re not really widespread — there isn’t widespread uptake,” Hyshka said in an interview Saturday.

“It’s not a bad thing to have an app. I actually think it’s really important to try new things we haven’t done before to get on top of the situation, but we just have to do a lot of due diligence to ensure it works well for people.”

Eric Engler, a spokesman for Mental Health and Addictions Minister Mike Ellis, said in an email that there have been more than 650 downloads of the DORS App with over 230 registered users. .

“The DORS app is working as intended and is providing response to those who need it,” Engler said, noting it is a “confidential and anonymous service.”

Last month, the province said, on average, four people a day die from overdoses across Alberta.

Engler said 70 per cent of opioid-related fatalities happen at home.

Kenney, who along with Ellis, announced additional addictions treatment spaces on Saturday, said the app reaches users where they are.

“Most of the people who die of opioid overdoses are not homeless folks on the street in the downtown. Most of those deaths are are happening in homes in the suburbs, often middle-class people who are not going to drive downtown to a safe-consumption site,” Kenney told reporters.

“We need to go where people are, and that includes folks who are using in their homes.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Trending

X