EDMONTON – As COVID-19 cases rise sharply in Alberta, the province has decided to reintroduce a masking mandate in an effort to curb the virus’ spread.
Premier Jason Kenney also announced Friday that Alberta would be cutting off liquor service at the province’s bars, pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs at 10 p.m.
Province will mandate masks for all indoor public spaces and work places
Alcohol service ends at 10 at bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Province is encouraging small gatherings of up to 10 ppl.
— Darcy Ropchan (@darcyropchan) September 3, 2021
People who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to keep indoor social gatherings to 10 people or fewer.
The masking rules will not cover Alberta’s schools.
The province says the best way to ensure the safety of kids under 12–those who are ineligible for the vaccine–is to have all eligible people around them vaccinated.
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“I know that this is disappointing to some who have started to move back into their office, some that have planned large social events. These steps are the least intrusive things we think are needed, and they’re temporary,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
“We need to bring these measures back to keep us safe.”
The Alberta government is also strongly recommending that people continue to work from home whenever possible and that employers put off welcoming people back to their buildings.
“We’re confident that these things, along with the power of vaccines, will be enough to see us through.”
The new rules come into effect Saturday, Sept. 4.
On Thursday, there were 487 people with COVID-19 in hospital, with 114 of those patients in intensive care–double the totals from 11 days earlier.
The strain on health care is leading to bed closures, patient transfers to other hospitals and surgery cancellations.
The province also announced on Friday a cash incentive for people getting their first or second shots between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.
-with files from the Canadian Press