While most Albertans have been diligent and understand the personal responsibility we all share in combatting the COVID-19 virus, unfortunately case numbers across Alberta have risen in recent weeks. As a result, Alberta’s government has introduced new enhanced public health measures.
The decisions announced were not made lightly. These decisions were based on a balanced approach to ensure our health care system is not overwhelmed, while ensuring that our economy does not suffer the consequences that accompany a full lockdown.
The rise in both hospitalizations and ICU admissions were a definitive factor in the government’s decision to introduce new health measures. The cost of overwhelming our health care system would threaten our ability to deliver services that Albertans rely on and would delay health care for those needing surgery, treatment, and general care.
The focused and targeted measures are aimed at places where the data clearly shows COVID-19 is spreading, rather than a province-wide lockdown. Restricting access to sport and introducing capacity limits on businesses is not something that we wanted to do, but these steps are necessary to slow the spread. Many called for a complete lockdown, but the consequences of such a move would result in thousands of jobs being lost and further despair over the future of our economy. Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit, and fierce independence is a central piece of our identity and is why we have so many successful small businesses across our province. A provincial lockdown would be devastating for these businesses, and would cause profound damage, especially to low income earners who would be the most affected.
I am confident that with adherence to public health guidelines the spread of COVID can be slowed and the vast majority of services that Albertans utilize on a daily basis, including retail stores, movie theatres, and restaurants, can remain open.
There is no one single way through this pandemic, and every decision impacts the lives of our friends and neighbours. The restrictions on home gatherings was a difficult decision. This decision was based on data driven analysis from Alberta’s top health professionals and is expected to have the most significant impact to slowing transmission of COVID-19.
Every Albertan has a role to play in our response and recovery. I encourage everyone to support local businesses in any way possible, whether supporting a local restaurant or shopping local, either in store or online.
Finally, our hope is to relax these measures for the holiday season and we are desperate to do so. But that decision is ultimately in the hands of Albertans. I encourage you to visit COVID-19 info for Albertans | Alberta.ca for current updates.