Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will field questions from the media Wednesday morning after unveiling the strongest COVID-19 measures in 14 months.
Kenney will be joined at the 10 a.m. news conference – which the government is billing as a “recap” – by Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
In a live televised address Tuesday night, Kenney announced new restrictions on any region or community in the province except for those with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than 30 active cases.
“We must act now to stop the spike,” he said, referring to the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.
Starting Friday, K-12 students will move to at-home learning until May 25.
All other measures will be in place for three weeks and take effect within five days. They include the closure of restaurant patios and personal wellness services, such as salons and tattoo parlours, at 11:59 p.m. on May 9.
Capacity at places of worship is limited to 15 people and funeral services to 10 people. Outdoor social gatherings will be capped at five people, down from 10 on Wednesday.
Fines for rulebreakers have been doubled from $1,000 to $2,000.
Kenney said the province has attempted to strike a balance through targeted approaches to restrictions so as not to impact businesses too much.
“The good news is we have vaccines on our side,” he said. “They are already working wonders. We will be able to vaccinate all Albertans over the age of 16 very soon.”
The province leads the country with the highest active per-capita rate in Canada, with 534 per 100,000 people — more than double Ontario’s 247 per 100,000 people. Variants represent 62.3 per cent of Alberta’s cases. The province currently has an 11.19 per cent positivity rate.
On Tuesday, Alberta reported 1,743 new infections, bringing the total number of active cases to a new record of 23,623, and nine additional deaths.