September 15, 2021
LIVE: Announcing new public health measures to stop the spread of COVID https://t.co/LyznQg4oxQ
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) September 16, 2021
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is set to bring in more lockdowns including the forced closures of dine-in restaurants.
And he apologized for his comments earlier this summer when he said Alberta “was open for good.”
“It’s now clear we were wrong and for that, I apologize.” He later said he wasn’t apologizing for relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on Canada Day.
As of September 20, restaurants will have to shut their dining rooms and only be allowed to serve take-out meals or on their patios. The province will also continue a curfew of 10 p.m. for liquor sales to be cut off.
The government is bringing back forced social distancing and making it illegal for unvaccinated people to attend social functions in homes.
Vaccinated families can have friends come over from one other vaccinated house to a total of 10 people.
In schools, forced masking is in for students in Grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.
Mandatory work from home orders are back in place.
Churches can stay open as long as physical distancing is maintained and people wear masks.
Indoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services are permitted with up to 50 people, or 50% of fire code occupancy, whichever is less, but they are prohibited unless the hosting facility implements the restrictions exemption program.
It comes as the province reports 1,609 new COVID-19 cases and a whopping 24 more deaths – the highest number of pandemic-related deaths since January 21.
Kenney and his cabinet members dealing with COVID-19 were engaged in marathon meetings Tuesday and Wednesday.
Kenney said the province has been placed back into a state of emergency.
Alberta is under assault by a fourth wave of COVID-19, spearheaded by the Delta variant. There have been thousands of new cases and hospital ICU numbers are at record levels.
Kenney said the province could run out of ICU beds in the next 10 days if projections are correct. Thousands of elective surgeries have already been cancelled. Alberta Health Services officials are set to reach out to other provinces to see if they have open ICU beds or any extra staff that could be deployed here.
He said the government will “spare no costs” to maximize hospital capacity and again said it was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and urged everyone to get vaccinated.
“This is truly a life or death matter,” Kenney said.
Kenney said the government will bring in a “proof of vaccination” program for business.
If businesses such as restaurants start using a vaccine passport, they will get exemptions.
The vaxport program starts September 20.
Kenney said he still has confidence in Hinshaw as his CMOH.
Currently 71.4% of Albertans 12 and over are fully vaccinated.
“Today’s update is heartbreaking. We lost another 24 Albertans to COVID-19. 24. Today is a reminder that this pandemic is not over. There are 877 Albertans in hospital, 218 in ICU. The fourth wave is having devastating consequences across Alberta,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley.
Two independent MLAs, booted in May from the UCP caucus blasted the government.