CALGARY – Stricter health measures announced on Tuesday will see bars and restaurants in Alberta closed to in-person dining beginning at midnight 1 Sunday. Masks will be made mandatory inside the province, according to a rating obtained by CTV News, and hair and nail salons, gyms and tattoo parlors will be closed.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the new restrictions, which will remain in place for at least four weeks.
“The recent surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 will threaten our health care system and the lives of many vulnerable Albertans unless other action is taken now,” Kenney said in a statement.
“The number of cases and hospitalizations in Alberta have reached a point where we need to take more stringent measures to protect the capacity of our health care system,” Shandro said in a statement. “These new mandatory health measures are among the most stringent we have implemented, but they are absolutely essential for the future of our province. ”
Along with the expanded mask rule, indoor and outdoor social gatherings will be banned immediately, and close contact will be limited to household members only. People who live alone will be entitled to up to two close contacts for an in-person visit. These two people must remain the same while the measures are in effect.
Personal and wellness services such as hair salons, nail salons, tattoo and piercing parlors will be closed Sunday at midnight, and casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centers, horse tracks , running tracks, bowling alleys, billiard halls, legions and private clubs will also be. be closed.
Retail stores may remain open but capacity will be reduced to 15 percent. Places of worship will also be limited to 15% of the capacity for in-person services.
Homework will be mandatory, “unless the employer determines that the work requires a physical presence for operational efficiency,” the memo said.
“We recognize that every restriction creates damage,” Kenney said. “Every restriction, like the one we are announcing today, will cause enormous damage to the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Albertans.
“It’s not academic,” he added. “It’s very real. People will lose their life savings as a result. ”
When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Kenney said these gatherings are for members of your household or two close contacts only.
“With the promise of a vaccine in early 2021, we can see the end of this terrible time,” Kenney said. “But all Albertans need to take this more seriously than ever by staying home as much as possible and following these new measures. ”
At the press conference, Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the restrictions would help.