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Province restores mask mandate to slow COVID spread

jason kenney
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Friday reinstated mandatory masks in indoor public spaces, as well as other restrictions aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Fort Macleod residents and other Albertans must wear masks in all indoor public places as the province implements temporary measures to slow the fourth wave of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney on Friday also urged Albertans to limit person-to-person contact and restricted indoor social gatherings to close contacts of just two families up to a maximum of 10 people.

“COVID-19 is surging once again in Alberta, as it is everywhere across the country and most of the world,” Kenney said during a news conference. “The Delta variant of COVID-19 is causing concerning rise in hospitalizations in our province.”

Schools are not required to implement mandatory masks.

The province is also urging companies to have employees work from home when possible.

If employees must come to work they are to maintain a distance of two meters from others and wear masks.

Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments must now end alcohol service at 10 p.m.

“I know all of this is frustrating to hear right now,” Kenney said.

Noting the vast majority ot those in hospital are unvaccinated, the premier also urged Albertans to get two doses of vaccine to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide amazing protection against infection,” Kenney said.

Kenney celebrated the fact more than 2.9-million or 70 per cent of eligible Albertans aged 12 years and over are fully vaccinated.

“This is an important achievement, especially when you consider that Alberta has Canada’s youngest population,” Kenney said.

“But the bad news is we still have 30 per cent of the eligible population without full vaccine protection.”

“The Delta variant is ripping its way through this group at an aggressive rate.”

The Delta variant has spread widely and caused severe outcomes in Alberta in much greater rates among unvaccinated adults, the premier said.

Kenney said people aged 20 to 59 years who are not vaccinated and contract the Delta variant are 50 to 60 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated people have made up more than 80 per cent of hospital admissions since July 1.

To encourage more uptake in the vaccine, the premier announced a one-time incentive of $100 is now available for all Albertans age 18 or older who receive a first or second dose of vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.

All Albertans 18 years of age and over who have received two doses of vaccine and are eligible for the remaining $1-million draw for the Open for Summer Lottery.

To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/lottery. The final draw closes Sept. 23.

All Albertans can book appointments via AHS on-line or by calling 811, or through participating pharmacies. For schedule and locations, visit ahs.ca/vaccine.

Provincial modelling shows intensive care unit patients could peak at around 180 in the medium scenario, although if accelerating trends continue, numbers could reach or exceed the projected high scenario at 290.

Other hospitalizations are trending toward the high scenario, with a potential peak of 700 in the next several weeks.

“You are putting yourselves at risk and you are putting our health care system at risk” Kenney said, urging people to get two doses of vaccine.

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