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Alberta

Alberta announces shut down of indoor sporting events, 11 pm closure of bars and restaurants, no social gatherings for 2 weeks

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From the Province of Alberta

New measures to curb the rapid growth of COVID-19

Targeted health measures will take effect on Nov. 13 to curb the rapid growth of COVID-19 in Alberta and protect the health system.

Alberta’s government is implementing additional health measures to help protect hospitals, keep schools and businesses open, and protect vulnerable Albertans.

There are 8,305 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are at their highest point since the pandemic began.

New public health measures

Starting Nov. 13, all restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs in regions under enhanced status must cease liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. The restriction will remain in place until Nov. 27.

There will also be a two-week ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities in Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer and Lethbridge.

Additional public health measures will also be implemented in all regions under an enhanced status. These measures will be in place until further notice:

  • Maximum attendance of 50 at wedding or funeral ceremonies.
  • It is recommended all faith-based activities limit attendance to one-third capacity per service.
  • Residents should not hold social gatherings within their homes and should not plan social gatherings outside their community.
  • It is recommended employers in office settings implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.

All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place in all areas.

Alberta Health, AHS and local municipalities will continue to closely monitor the spread across the province.

The Government of Alberta is asking all Albertans to do their part. If these measures are not successful, it will be necessary to implement more restrictive measures.

“We must take action at this critical point to contain the rapid growth of COVID-19 in our province. Through our actions, we can support the health-care system, keep schools open, protect vulnerable Albertans and keep the economy operating throughout the province. This is our chance. If Albertans respond to these and other public health guidelines now, we won’t need more restrictive measures in the future.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“We must reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition to these measures, I am asking all Albertans to look at our lives and reduce our social and close contact interactions wherever we can. If we can connect virtually or through other means, we need to make that change. By working together, we can protect each other, reduce the spread and protect our health system.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Quick facts

  • There are 8,305 active cases and 27,707 recovered cases in Alberta.
  • There are 225 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 51 in intensive care.
  • The total number of COVID-19 deaths is 393.

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Alberta

Calgary panda pair heading home to China after pandemic crimps zoo’s bamboo supplies

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CALGARY — The Calgary Zoo says two giant pandas are on their way home to China today.

The zoo said in May that it would be sending the pair back early because the COVID-19 pandemic was making it difficult to source bamboo.

The plant makes up 99 per cent of the animals’ diet and the zoo has said it was an expensive and all-consuming effort to cobble together supplies from across North America.

The zoo says on Twitter it was a difficult decision to send the pandas home three years earlier than planned.

It says it took months of hard work to secure international permits to get the pandas home.

The zoo posted photos of reams of paperwork needed for the journey, the crates that were to carry the pandas and the Lufthansa Cargo plane that was to take them to China.

The two adults, Er Shun and Da Mao, were on loan from China to Canadian zoos as part of a 10-year deal signed in 2012. They were to stay in Calgary until 2023.

Two cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, were born in Toronto in 2015. They were sent to China as planned in January.

The price tag to have the pandas in Calgary was around $30 million, including $14.4 million for the Panda Passage exhibit itself. Expanded parking lots, washrooms and restaurants were also required to accommodate an expected influx of visitors.

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

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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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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november, 2020

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