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Alberta

Video: AHS and RCMP at The Whistle Stop Cafe as latest lockdown restrictions kick in

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Friday at noon the provincial order to shut down dining rooms in Alberta came into effect.  Across the province thousands of staff have been sent home to an uncertain future.  But hundreds of restaurants are ramping up preparations to find unique ways to serve customers ‘outdoors’ in early and mid April.

As other restaurants were winding down operations, The Whistle Stop Cafe at Mirror was a beehive of activity Friday.  Owner Chris Scott has become a lightning rod of opposition to provincial lockdown measures.  Partway through Alberta’s second lockdown, Scott opened the Whistle Stop in order to stay in business and is now facing a charge of opening against the restrictions.  So far that hasn’t slowed him down at all.

As the clock ticked toward the noon lockdown deadline, Scott and his crew were working frantically on opening an outdoor patio and partially covered “tented” areas. In the first of three videos posted to The Whistle Stop Cafe’s Facebook page today,  Chris Scott prepared to meet RCMP and AHS officials.

In this second video Chris Scott addresses customers to let them know the AHS and RCMP are present and they should be respected as they do their jobs.

The third video is a little longer.  This video shows the interaction between the owner of The Whistle Stop and both AHS officials and RCMP members.  Most of the audio is good enough to hear what they’re saying to each other.  It’s a very interesting experience to be in the middle of this very polite and yet very uncomfortable situation.

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

Province wants everyone in Alberta to get a third shot

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Expanding COVID-19 booster to all Albertans 18-plus

Expanded availability of third doses of COVID-19 vaccine will help Albertans increase their protection against COVID-19.

Starting Dec. 2, all Albertans aged 60 and older can book appointments for a booster dose of mRNA vaccine six months after receiving their second dose. First appointments will be available beginning Dec. 6.

All other Albertans aged 18-plus will be notified when the next age group is able to book appointments. Additional age groups will be announced as quickly as possible.

“I am pleased that we can offer booster doses to more Albertans. Millions of Albertans have rolled up their sleeves to have their best protection against COVID-19. While two doses continues to provide strong protection against severe outcomes, we will continue to push the federal government for supply to ensure all Albertans can receive their third doses to continue limiting COVID-19 infection and transmission.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“With the winter season increasing transmission risks, and more Albertans approaching the six-month milestone since receiving their second dose, the evidence supports expanding booster doses to add an additional layer of protection. Vaccines continue to be our best protection against COVID-19, and I continue to encourage Albertans to book their first, second and third doses as soon as they are eligible.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Current evidence indicates that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection appears to wane over time. While individual protection against severe outcomes remains strong after two doses for most people, there are still many in our communities who are completely unprotected, and third doses will help boost population protection and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Expansion of booster dose eligibility was informed by the advice of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Booking for booster doses

Effective Dec. 2, eligible individuals can book appointments for third doses online with participating pharmacies by using the Alberta vaccine booking system. Albertans can also call 811, participating pharmacies or participating physicians’ offices. The first appointments will be available starting Dec. 6.

Booster eligibility is based on birth date. Albertans who are 59 turning 60, and First Nation, Métis or Inuit individuals who are 17 turning 18, are asked to not book appointments before their birthday.

Albertans who were previously eligible for third doses continue to be able to book their appointments.

Albertans eligible for additional doses

Albertans eligible for additional doses now include:

Eligible at least six months after receiving their second dose:

  • Albertans aged 60-plus
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit people aged 18-plus
  • Health-care workers providing direct patient care and who received their second dose less than eight weeks after their first dose
  • Individuals who received two doses of AstraZeneca or one dose of Janssen vaccine

Eligible at least five months after receiving their second dose:

  • Seniors living in congregate care

Eligible at least eight weeks after receiving their second dose:

  • Individuals with eligible immunocompromising conditions

Quick facts

  • To date, 378,507 Albertans have received a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 84.1 per cent of eligible Albertans 12 years of age and older have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine while 88.8 per cent have received at least one dose.
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Alberta

Evacuation order lifted after wildfire contained in southern Alberta

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Firefighters contained a wildfire on Wednesday that had prompted a temporary evacuation order in a sparsely populated area of southern Alberta.

An emergency alert from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency was issued just after midnight notifying residents of a blaze near the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 533, west of Nanton, Alta.

The Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26 said in a statement it was unknown how many people had left.

Just after 6 a.m., evacuees were given the green light to return home with caution. The provincial agency said residents were no longer at immediate risk.

Josee St-Onge, a spokesperson with Alberta Wildfire, said the grass fire was classified as being held.

“It means that given the current weather conditions, and the resources that we have working on that wildfire, it’s not anticipated to grow past the boundaries that have been established for it,” said St-Onge.

Strong winds could prevent further progress in getting the fire under control and extinguished, she said.

“It’s too soon to see exactly how the fire is going to behave and if we’re going to be able to bring it under control quickly, but that’s definitely the goal.”

Aerial and land fire crews continued to fight the fire and additional resources were on standby, St-Onge added. The fire was mapped out at 37 hectares.

No property damage was reported.

St-Onge said fires are not unusual this time of year. Warmer weather, high winds and grassy areas not yet covered by snow increase the risk.

Wind warnings swept southern Alberta on Wednesday.

Environment Canada issued alerts for all southern parts of the province, including Waterton Lakes National Park, Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Lethbridge, Cardston and surrounding areas.

The agency said wind gusts could hit 100 km/h and potentially cause damage to property, down trees, toss loose objects and make driving difficult. Environment Canada said it expected winds to gradually decrease but remain “gusty” into Thursday.

Gary Stanford, who lives in Magrath, south of Lethbridge, said power went out at his home Tuesday night. He expects it was a result of power lines blown over by strong winds.

“A lot of trees broke and it was snapping off big power poles about halfway down to the ground,” said Stanford. “During the night was when the big gusts came.”

He said winds calmed down by about 8 a.m. Wednesday. He said it’s often windy where he lives, but this was out of the ordinary.

In other parts of the province, winter weather conditions were posing a risk.

Lake Louise RCMP advised that “winter has struck the mountain areas” and was creating avalanche risks near the resort village.

Parts of Highway 93, north and south of Highway 1, were closed to traffic and weren’t expected to reopen until Thursday, Mounties said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

Alanna Smith, The Canadian Press

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