Connect with us


New COVID-19 restrictions to stop the spike


15 minute read


New mandatory health restrictions will help stop the spike of COVID-19 and protect the health system.

These include new restrictions on outdoor social gatherings, schools, retail, restaurants, places of worship, personal and wellness services, outdoor sports and fitness, funerals, and post-secondary institutions.

The new restrictions come into force effective May 5, unless indicated otherwise, and will remain in place for at least three weeks.

These new measures apply to all Albertans, businesses, organizations and service providers in municipalities or areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases.

Expanded public health measures

The following mandatory public health measures will apply to all communities with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases:

  • Outdoor social gatherings – Effective May 5
    • All outside social gatherings must be limited to no more than five people.
    • This is a decrease from the previous 10-person limit.
    • Mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.
    • All indoor social gatherings are still prohibited.
  • Indoor fitness – Effective May 5
    • All indoor fitness must close, including for one-on-one training.
  • Funerals – Effective May 5
    • No more than 10 people can attend funeral services, including participants and guests.
    • This is a decrease from the current limit of 20 people, and brings funerals in line with wedding services.
    • Wedding and funeral receptions are still not permitted.
  • Retail – Effective May 5
    • Retail services must limit customer capacity to 10 per cent of fire code occupancy (not including staff) or a minimum of five customers.
    • The 10 per cent capacity limit at shopping malls will exclude common area square footage.
    • Curbside pick up, delivery and online services are encouraged.
  • Post-secondary institutions – Effective May 5
    • All post-secondary learning must shift to online learning only.
  • Places of worship – Effective May 5
    • Faith services are limited to in-person attendance of 15 people. This is a decrease from the previous 15 per cent capacity limit.
    • Physical distancing between households must be maintained at all times.
    • Virtual or online services are strongly recommended.
    • Drive-in services where people do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance are allowed.
  • Hotels/motels – Effective May 5
    • Hotels and motels can remain open but pools and recreation facilities must close.
  • Working from home – Effective May 5
    • Working from home remains mandatory unless the employer requires the employee’s physical presence to operate effectively.
    • Where at work for operational effectiveness, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.
  • Work place transmission – Effective May 5
    • Any workplace, except work camps and essential and critical services, with transmission of three or more cases will be required by health officials to close for 10 days.
    • Any workplace that does not comply will be subject to enforcement.
  • Schools (K-12) – Effective May 7
    • All kindergarten to Grade 12 students will temporarily shift to at-home learning, starting on May 7. Students will return to in-class learning on May 25. Exceptions will continue to be available for students with disabilities so they can continue to attend in-person classes as necessary.
  • Restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafes – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
    • In-person dining on patios is prohibited. Only take out or delivery services are allowed.
  • Personal and wellness services  – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
    • Hair salons, barbers, nail salons, estheticians, tattoos and piercing, must close.
    • Previously, these were allowed by appointment only.
  • Health, social and professional services – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
    • Regulated health services, such as physicians, dentists and chiropractors, can remain open by appointment only.
    • Non-regulated health services, such as massage therapists and kinesiologists, can remain open by appointment only.
    • Professional services, such as lawyers and photographers, can remain open by appointment only.
    • Social services, such as shelters and not-for-profit community kitchens, can remain open.
  • Sports, performance and recreation  – Effective at 11:59 pm on May 9
    • All outdoor sports and recreation are now prohibited except with members of your household or, if living alone, two close contacts. This is a decrease from the current limit of 10 people.
    • This includes:
      • all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes, training sessions
      • all one-on-one lessons and training activities
      • all practices, training and games
    • All indoor sport and recreation is prohibited, including youth sports.
    • All indoor performance activity is prohibited, including youth performances.
    • Professional sport organizations that have received an exemption can continue, provided protocols are strictly followed.

All other public health measures remain in place, including masking and physical distancing requirements.

These measures apply to any region or community except those with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than 30 active cases.

This eliminates any distinction in restrictions for hot spot areas.

Municipalities below the regional threshold

Municipalities that have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases will be required to return to Step 0 level restrictions. This includes:

  • Outdoor social gatherings
    • All outside social gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people
    • Mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.
    • All indoor social gatherings are still prohibited.
  • Funerals
    • No more than 20 people can attend funeral services, including participants and guests.
    • This continues the current limit of 20 people, and brings funerals in line with wedding services.
    • Wedding and funeral receptions are still not permitted.
  • Indoor Fitness – Effective May 5
    • All indoor fitness must close, including for 1-on-1 training.
  • All youth and adult indoor sport, performance and recreation activities – Effective May 5
    • All youth and adult indoor sport, performance and recreation activities are prohibited.
    • All indoor recreation facilities must close. Outdoor recreation amenities can be open to public access unless specifically closed by public health order.
    • Outdoor recreation with up to 10 people is allowed.
  • Personal and wellness services can stay open by appointment only.

Strengthening enforcement

To reinforce the importance of following public health orders and the consequences of not doing so, fines will double to $2,000 for Public Health Act violations. To do this, an Order in Council will amend the Procedures Regulation of the Provincial Offences Procedure Act to enable the increased fines to take effect as soon as possible.

Repeat offenders, whether individuals, organizations or businesses, who are repeatedly or continually violating public health orders will be targeted with a new enforcement protocol. The protocol is now in place and will be used to coordinate a multi-agency response to repeat offenders.

If one organization is unable to gain compliance, a coalition of enforcement partners will work with each other to respond as quickly as possible with the most effective measures to gain compliance in that situation. The protocol also outlines steps for ongoing monitoring, which will assist authorities with deciding how to escalate legal and regulatory consequences against offenders that refuse to comply with previous enforcement measures.

Partners in the provincial group include Alberta Health Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Prosecution Service and local police services. Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis will also participate when cases involve licensees or activities under its jurisdiction.

As is the case with the public health orders themselves, the goal of this enforcement protocol is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the resulting threat to public health and strain on the health care system.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system

“This is a last resort and a necessary step. With cases continuing to rise, we have no choice but to take serious action now or jeopardize putting the health system at risk. If we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of restrictions, which no Albertan wants to see. The best way to get out of this is for all Albertans to follow these new measures and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“These measures are tough but have proven to work. Rising cases and hospitalizations mean we must take stricter measures in order to protect capacity in our health system. These mandatory new health measures are some of the strictest we’ve implemented, but they are absolutely critical to the future of our province.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“I want to thank teachers, school staff, parents and of course our students for their flexibility and efforts since the start of the pandemic. The disruptions are difficult inside and outside the classroom, and this has been especially true with the recent rise of cases in the province. That said, if all Albertans do their part, this will be a temporary reset for our schools and we all can look forward to coming back to class later this spring to close out the school year.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

“Most Albertans have gone above and beyond in making sacrifices to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and yet there are some who refuse to follow public health orders and flaunt their non-compliance. There’s no excuse for this type of behaviour in the face of a public health crisis. The men and women of law enforcement will now have the authority to issue stiff penalties, up to $2,000, to recalcitrant individuals and organizations. Additionally, Alberta’s government has developed a new enforcement protocol that brings together law enforcement and all relevant government agencies to effectively target the more complex and flagrant cases of non-compliance and repeat offenders.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“I know Albertans, even those who have carefully followed the health guidance and worked to keep not only themselves but their fellow Albertans safe, are tired. But if we can muster the strength to make it through these next few weeks, we will allow our vaccination program a chance to protect more Albertans, and in end, we will get COVID-19 under control in Alberta.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Quick facts: Municipalities below the regional threshold

As of May 4, the following municipalities have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases will be required to return to Step 0 level restrictions:

  • Clear Hills County
  • I.d. No. 12 (Jasper National Park)
  • I.d. No. 13 (Elk Island)
  • I.d. No. 24 (Wood Buffalo)
  • I.d. No. 25 (Willmore Wilderness)
  • I.d. No. 349
  • I.d. No. 4 (Waterton)
  • Municipal District of Acadia No. 34
  • Municipal District of Ranchland No. 66
  • Saddle Hills County
  • Kananaskis Improvement District
  • Birch Hills County
  • City of Lloydminster
  • Special Areas No. 3
  • Woodlands County
  • Municipality of Jasper
  • Starland County
  • Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17
  • County of Two Hills No. 21
  • County of Northern Lights
  • Thorhild County
  • County of Newell
  • County of Forty Mile No. 8
  • County of Paintearth No. 18
  • Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133
  • Special Areas No. 4
  • Municipal District of Provost No. 52
  • Municipal District of Smoky River No. 130
  • Special Areas No. 2
  • Municipal District of Fairview No. 136
  • Vulcan County
  • Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9
  • Municipal District of Greenview No. 16
  • Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
  • Lamont County
  • County of Minburn No. 27
  • Town of Drumheller
  • Smoky Lake County
  • Northern Sunrise County
  • Lac Ste. Anne County
  • Flagstaff County
  • Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8


This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

Follow Author


Calgary police identify 15-year-old girl killed in shooting, investigation continues

Published on

Calgary (CP) – Calgary police have identified a 15-year-old girl who was fatally shot this week as investigators try to determine whether she was the intended target or if it was a case of mistaken identity.

Officers responded to reports of a shooting in an alley in the Martindale neighbourhood early Tuesday morning.

They say the teenager was a passenger in a vehicle when she was shot and that the driver, who was not injured, immediately fled the scene before pulling over to call police.

Police say investigators have received several tips from the public.

They say evidence from the scene leads police to believe it was targeted, but investigators haven’t determined whether the occupants of the vehicle were the intended targets.

The girl has been identified as Sarah Alexis Jorquera of Calgary.

“This was a senseless act of violence that took the life of a young girl,” Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the homicide unit said in a statement Wednesday.

“At this point, we have more questions than answers and are working around the clock to hold those responsible accountable. Losing a 15-year-old is a tragic loss for our community, her school, her friends and, most importantly, her family.”

Police ask anyone with any information about the shooting to call investigators.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.

Continue Reading


‘A crisis’: Calgary charity seeks one-month homes for Ukrainian refugees after influx

Published on

Ukrainian evacuees Dmytro Syrman, left, his wife, Anastasiia, centre, and their four-year-old daughter Varvara attend a news conference highlighting the need for temporary housing in Calgary on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Calgary

After six months under Russian occupation, Dmytro Syrman and his family decided to flee Ukraine for a safer life abroad and are now in Calgary.

The family lived in Dniprorudne, a mining city of 17,000 in southern Ukraine. Syrman worked as a human resources manager at an iron factory.

In August, Syrman, his wife, Anastasiia, and four-year-old daughter Varvara embarked on a six-day, 3,000-kilometre drive to Poland.

“On the 24 of February, when the Russian army attacked Ukraine and occupied our city in March 2022, we lost everything,” Syrman said Wednesday.

He said they began planning their escape when they realized Russian soldiers weren’t leaving their city.

“We started all of this because we were scared for Varvara,” he said. “When Russian bombs were falling near our city it was really scary.”

Their home is still under Russian occupation.

For the past year the family stayed in Poland, sent in their paperwork to come to Canada, and two weeks ago arrived in Calgary.

They’re now staying with a host family for a month while they look for long-term accommodation and to find jobs.

“We are here and starting a new life. We can’t believe about people who don’t know us and many helped us. We’re really shocked,” Syrman said.

The Syrmans were helped by Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers, which started a campaign to find 100 hosts for Ukrainian families or individuals for a month while they find housing of their own.

Kelly Ernst, chief program officer with the centre, said there has been a flood of Ukrainians trying to take advantage of a federal program that allows them to temporarily resettle in Canada.

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program has been extended until July and Ernst said he expects people will continue to flee the war-torn country.

“We’re in a desperate, dire need at the moment for host homes to try to accommodate the evacuees coming from Ukraine. It’s reaching the proportions of being a crisis moment,” said Ernst.

He said people arriving elsewhere in Canada are migrating to Calgary because the rents are lower than in larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.

Ernst said approximately 450 people have been arriving in Calgary every week from Ukraine and his organization has helped people staying nights in the airport, off the street and at homeless shelters.

Natalia Shem, who is the manager of housing for the Ukrainian evacuees, said it’s difficult for the newcomers to find somewhere to live before arriving.

“It’s almost impossible to find long-term rent being outside of Canada and people who come here need one month of stay,” Shem said. “It’s an average time a family can find long-term rent, job and settle down here in Canada.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.

Continue Reading