EDMONTON, AB – You better get that mask ready to wear again.
With COVID-19 cases surging in Alberta right now, Premier Jason Kenney on Friday held his first press conference in a month, this time to try and address this fourth wave.
He’s announced new temporary COVID-19 measures set to take effect at 8am Saturday, Sept. 4.
- The province will make masks mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces starting Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
- Also, as of Sept. 4 at 8 a.m., restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments will be required to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.
- In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. To support this, the province strongly recommends that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.
- It is also recommended that employers pause their plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work-from-home measures. If employees are working on location, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.
The Premier also announced that Alberta will be the first province to offer a one-time incentive of a $100 gift card for all Albertans 18 and older who receive a first or second dose of vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.
Kenney says one out of every five Alberta adults are not fully vaccinated and “their choices are now jeopardizing our healthcare system.”
He says there is a concerning rise in hospitalizations made up of almost entirely unvaccinated Albertans. The ICU situation is worse he says, with a 93 percent jump in admissions in the past eight days.
Alberta Health Services announced Friday it is postponing scheduled surgeries and procedures across all zones, saying “the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community and the resulting demand on hospital resources means AHS must take further immediate steps to create additional ICU capacity.”
The Calgary Zone and South Zone are postponing up to 30 percent of scheduled surgeries, endoscopy and outpatient visits.
AHS says it will be maintaining urgent and emergent procedures, as well as prioritized cancer surgeries.