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Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 3pm

Alberta declares state of public health emergency, introduces new measures

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Alberta’s government is declaring a state of public health emergency and putting aggressive measures in place to protect the health system and reduce the rising spread of COVID-19 cases.

New restrictions and increased enforcement will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities, protect hospitals, keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, and better protect vulnerable Albertans.

There are now 13,349 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. With rising hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, new restrictions are needed.

“We are taking strong, targeted new measures to protect both lives and livelihoods and bend the COVID-19 curve back down. Today we have declared a state of public health emergency, taking firm action to protect Albertans’ health and our health-care system. Without these measures, we will soon have to cancel thousands of surgeries and other health services. Albertans must act together to protect the vulnerable.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Most Albertans have done their best to follow the targeted health measures introduced 10 days ago, however, these efforts have not slowed the growth of COVID-19 sufficiently. Cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to rise. We are in a critical time. By taking further action now, we can slow this virus, ensure our health-care system has the capacity to respond and prevent the shuttering of more businesses.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“The growth rate of COVID-19 cases is alarming. Even with the new measures, because of the lag time between announcing and impact, additional health system measures such as cancelling urgent surgeries may be needed temporarily to ensure hospitals can cope with COVID-related illness. All Albertans must take these additional measures very seriously; this virus is highly contagious. Only by working together can we protect each other, reduce the spread and protect our health system.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health

New public health measures

Not following mandatory restrictions could result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.

Provincewide measures

Public and private gatherings

Effective immediately, mandatory restrictions on social gatherings are in effect provincewide. These measures will be in place until further notice and include:

  • No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting, including workplaces.
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Funeral services and wedding ceremonies must follow all public health guidance and are limited to a maximum of 10 in-person attendees. Receptions are not permitted.

Schools

In all schools, Grades 7-12 will move to at-home learning on Nov. 30, ending in-person classes early.

  • Students in early childhood services and Grades K-6 will remain learning in-person until Dec. 18.
  • All students will return to at-home learning after the winter break and resume in-person learning on Jan. 11, 2021.
  • These measures are mandatory.

Diploma exams are optional for the rest of the school year. Students and their families can choose whether to write the exam or receive an exemption for the April, June, and August 2021 exam sessions.

Measures for regions under enhanced status

Effective immediately, mandatory restrictions on places of worship, businesses and services are in effect in areas under enhanced status. These measures will be in place until further notice.

Places of worship

  • Places of worship are limited to a maximum of one-third normal attendance per service.
  • Physical distancing between households and masking are required.
  • Faith-based leaders are encouraged to move services online.
  • In-person faith group meetings can continue, but must maintain physical distancing and public health measures must be followed.

Businesses and services

Starting Nov. 27, business and service restrictions fall under three categories: closed for in-person business, open with restrictions, and open by appointment only. Impacts by category are available here: alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

These measures will remain in place for three weeks, but will be extended if needed.

Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person visits to retail locations, shop local and use curbside pickup, delivery and online services, where possible.

Specific measures for Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding communities

Mandatory mask requirements

Effective immediately, a new mandatory mask requirement for indoor workplaces is in place for Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding areas. This includes any location where employees are present, and applies to visitors, including delivery personnel, and employees or contractors.

This measure will be in place until further notice.

All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place in all areas. Alberta Health, AHS and local municipalities continue to closely monitor the spread across the province.


Council passes mandatory mask bylaw

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Tonight, at the Regular Council Meeting, Mayor and Council passed a bylaw making face coverings mandatory in indoor public places effective immediately.
“This bylaw is temporary and will only be activated when the Province has Drumheller or our neighbouring communities as listed as Enhanced Status.” Explains Deputy Mayor Jay Garbutt. “We recognize that this is a controversial topic in our community, however, the health and safety of our residents is the most important issue.”
According to Bylaw 20.20, an indoor public place means all or part of a building, structure, or other enclosed areas to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express, or implied, regardless of whether a fee is charged for entry, and for clarification includes but is not limited to:
i. eating and drinking establishments;
ii. Public Vehicles;
iii. entertainment establishments, amusement arcades, bingo establishments, adult entertainment establishments, and theatres;
iv. markets, retail stores, garden centres, shopping centres, and other places where goods or services are made available to the public;
v. places of worship, community facilities, recreational facilities, and places where people gather for cultural purposes;
vi. gyms, studios, and other exercise facilities;
vii. indoor or enclosed parking facilities;
viii. premises used as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes;
ix. common areas of hotels, motels, and other short term rentals;
x. medical clinics; and
xi. offices to which the public has access;

The Government of Alberta indicated that for Drumheller to be removed from enhanced status, the cases would have to be less than 10, or less than 50 per 100,000 for thirty consecutive days. As of today, Drumheller has 63 active cases, or 699.5 per 100,000 along with two deaths, ranking us in the top 10 for cases per 100,000 in the province.
A list of exemptions to Bylaw 20.20 can be found on Drumheller.ca

Town declares State Of Local Emergency

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The Town of Drumheller has declared a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) as of Monday, November 23, 2020, with aims to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
“The safety and wellbeing of our community continues to be our top priority,” explains Jay Garbutt, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Drumheller. “This is tough, but we believe as a community we can work together to slow the spread.”
The State of Local Emergency gives the Town access to additional resources, and special powers under the Emergency Management Act not available under the Municipal Government Act.

Section 24(1)(b) of the Emergency Management Act allows municipalities to exercise the same powers in a state of local emergency as the Minister may exercise in a provincial state of emergency (note that the current provincial state of public health emergency differs from a provincial state of emergency, and includes slightly different provincial powers). These powers are found in s. 19(1) and are as follows:
a. put into operation an emergency plan or program;
b. authorize or require a local authority to put into effect an emergency plan or program for the municipality;
c. acquire or utilize any real or personal property considered necessary to prevent, combat, or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster;
d. authorize or require any qualified person to render aid of a type the person is qualified to provide;
e. control or prohibit travel to or from any area of Alberta;
f. provide for the restoration of essential facilities and the distribution of essential supplies and provide, maintain, and coordinate emergency medical, welfare, and other essential services in any part of Alberta;
g. order the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock and personal property from any area of Alberta that is or may be affected by a disaster and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons or livestock and of the personal property;
h. authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program;

i. cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structures, or crops if the demolition or removal is necessary or appropriate in order to reach the scene of a disaster, or to attempt to forestall its occurrence or to combat its progress;
j.procure or fix prices for food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies, or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources, or equipment within any part of Alberta for the duration of the state of emergency;
k.authorize the conscription of persons needed to meet an emergency.

“We are not currently, nor do we anticipate, enacting an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) or Incident Command Post (ICP),” states Darryl Drohomerski, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Emergency Management for the Town of Drumheller. "We want to be prepared in the event cases continue to escalate. A SOLE will help us do this.”
All Town services are still operating at this time, including limited recreation services. Water, sewer, waste services, and power are still operating and serving our community.


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