New public health measures to stop the spike of COVID-19

Earlier today, the Emergency Management Committee of Cabinet approved a set of new public health measures to stop the spike of COVID-19 in our province.

These stepped-up measures will take effect province-wide, with the exception of a few communities.

“Starting this Friday, May 6, Kindergarten to Grade 12 will move to at-home Learning until Tuesday, May 25, after the long weekend,” Premier Jason Kenney announced on Facebook Live. “I know this is a real disruption for both kids and parents, but with the current level of community spread. We have 80,000 students and staff who were in self-isolation and will soon reach a point where many schools will not be able to operate.”

Premier Kenney says this two-week reset will allow schools to come back for in-classroom instruction, right through to the end of the academic year. The following measures will take effect immediately, and will be in place for at least three weeks.

Workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks will be mandated to close operations for ten days with exemptions for critical workplaces, all post-secondary institutions will move online, retail services must limit consumer capacity to ten per cent of fire code capacity, or a minimum of five customers, Premier Kenney added.

“This includes both individual stores and common areas. Outdoor social gatherings, currently limited to ten people will now be limited to five, with a strong recommendation that people limit gatherings to no more than two family cohorts,” Premier Kenney said.

Places of worship, currently limited to 15 per cent capacity will be limited to 15 people, as they were last spring.

“Sadly, funerals currently limited to 20 people will now be limited to ten effective at 11:59 p.m. on this coming Sunday, May 9,” Premier Kenney said. “Personal and wellness services, including hair salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and nail salons will close for the next three weeks.”

Also in person dining at bars and restaurants, including outdoor patios, will have to close during the same period.

“They may be open for takeout only and delivery, of course, outdoor sports and recreation will be limited to households and close contacts, only, and youth and adult performance will close, health, social and professional services like massage therapy,” Kenney explained.

“Physicians and dentists accountants and lawyers will remain available but by appointment only. And indoor fitness remains closed.”

Kenny also said the government is doubling the basic fine for violating public health measures from $1,000 to $2,000.

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.

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