Loading articles...

Kenney defends COVID-19 plan, warns of more restrictions if rules aren't followed

Last Updated Dec 10, 2020 at 7:34 am MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Premier Jason Kenney is not calling it a lockdown, but warns there is a scenario where more restrictions could be put in place.

Kenney held a Facebook live session on Wednesday answering questions about the latest COVID-19 restrictions and the government’s plan for rolling out vaccines.

He said more restrictions may come if people don’t listen to the new rules but also dismissed the idea of a circuit breaker lockdown suggested by many health experts.

“There’s a lot of provinces that brought in more stringent public health measures in October and November, before we did, who have exactly the same rules around Christmas as we will have.”

Kenney added while he believes the vast majority of people are adhering to these guidelines, if that minority of people continue to ignore the rules, there may be more crackdowns coming.

“If the growth in spread continues to a point into January where it is truly threatening our health care system, then we would have to bring in additional restrictions as much as I hate it.”

WATCH: Alberta to receive first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines next week

The UCP has received praise and criticism regarding the new measures. Some believe it’s the right thing to do while others say it should have been done weeks ago.

Kenney said his government has been “viciously attacked” this past week for not bringing in stricter restrictions sooner.

He said the new measures were made against their strongest inclinations but due to the growth in new infections, the health care system would be under immense pressure if nothing was done.

“We are now at a state where the velocity of viral spread is so wide that it doesn’t matter how careful these businesses are, it doesn’t matter how compliant their employees are with the rules. Employees and clients, inevitably now, will walk into those business places who are COVID positive who do not know it and will transmit just through general, social, community transmission.”

RELATED: Lockdown of bars, gyms, salons; provincial mask mandate among new COVID-19 restrictions

On the plus side, Kenney did touch on Alberta’s plans to roll out the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

“We hope to have vaccinated our most vulnerable population by the end of March. The bad news is winter is coming and that is likely going to mean a prolonged period for at least some of these restrictions.”

The latest round of restrictions announced Tuesday will come into effect for businesses starting Dec. 13 and are scheduled to last the next four weeks.

-With files from CityNews