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Saturday , 31 July 2021

Alberta closing dine-in services Friday; more measures effective midnight

Premier Jason Kenney announced new measures as COVID-19 variants continue to climb in Alberta.

“Tired though we may be, we can’t stop now,” said Kenney during a press conference on Tuesday.

The province is effectively moving back into Step 1 of the government’s plan to easing measures.

On Friday, April 9 at noon, dining-in at restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes will not be allowed, but outdoor patios can remain open, along with curbside pickups and delivery services.

Effective at midnight, there will be a lower capacity for retail and just one-on-one fitness appointments allowed. No drop-in or unsupervised fitness activities are permitted.

Only one youth group can occupy a sports field, ice, court at once; otherwise Health Minister Tyler Shandro said restrictions around youth sports stay similar to before.

Libraries must close until further notice.

“I know that this has been a time of incredible stress and anxiety for so many Albertans. Announcements like the one today disrupt many people’s lives and their livelihoods. The spike we are living through is going to send hundreds of Albertans to hospital and is going to affect many families in a dramatic way,” said Kenney during the press conference.

“Folks, I know we are all so tired of this. Everyone has what we call COVID fatigue. Everyone is feeling it in your families. Everyone is feeling some level of mental or emotional stress and are just so tired of the uncertainty in policy during the changes in the pandemic.

“Please know that we are getting to the end of it. We just have to finish strong. We have to pull together. I am worried about the real polarization in the debate in this province and that we’ve seen around the world. How about we find unity in our shared commitment to keep each other safe.”

More to follow.

Full list of restrictions

Retail

  • Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, with a minimum of five customers permitted.
    • Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged.
  • Shopping malls will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy.

Indoor fitness

  • Only one-on-one training with an individual or household is permitted for indoor fitness activities (e.g., fitness in dance studios, training figure skating on ice, one-on-one lessons).
  • No drop-in activities or unsupervised individual fitness.
  • Group fitness, high or low intensity, is not allowed.
  • Outdoor physical activity is allowed with up to 10 people, provided physical distancing is maintained between households.

Adult performance activities

  • Adult performance activities are not permitted. Performance activities include dancing, singing, acting, playing a musical instrument and any rehearsal or theatrical performances.

The following mandatory public health measures come into effect at noon on Friday, April 9:

Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafés

  • Indoor in-person service is no longer permitted
    • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.
    • Outdoor patio dining is also allowed. Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
    • Household members only, or two close contacts of someone who lives alone.
    • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.

The following mandatory public health measures remain in effect unchanged:

Places of worship

  • All places of worship will continue to be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance.
    • Virtual or online services are strongly encouraged.
    • Drive-in services where individuals do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance will be permissible and are not subject to capacity restrictions.

Social gatherings

  • Indoor social gatherings continue to be prohibited.
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 participants, provided physical distancing and other measures continue to be followed.

Personal and wellness services

  • Personal and wellness services can be open for appointment only. This includes hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos and piercing.
  • Health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens can remain open for in-person attendance.

Indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance

  • K-12 schools and post-secondary children’s sport and performance activities, such as physical education classes, can now use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.
  • Lessons, practices and conditioning activities, but not games, may occur for indoor team-based minor sports/activities and school athletics.
    • All participants must be 18 years old or younger, excluding coaches or trainers.
    • Maximum of 10 individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
    • Participants must stay physically distanced from each other at all times.

New cases today

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed 931 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday after just over 9000 tests. Of those, 676 are COVID variants. The provincial positivity rate is 10.2 per cent.

Hospitalizations rose to 328 and 76 of those are in intensive care.

Hinshaw said 43 per cent of active cases in the province are of variants.

Three new deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the past 24 hours, said Hinshaw.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.