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Alberta to open Stage 2 of recovery on Friday

But the province is doing so well, Premier Jason Kenney said some things that were planned for Stage 3, like the opening of gyms, would also be allowed to go ahead on Friday.

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Alberta is launching Stage 2 of its coronavirus recovery plan on Friday.

But the province is doing so well, Premier Jason Kenney said some things that were planned for Stage 3, like the opening of gyms, would also be allowed to go ahead on Friday.

“Albertans have demonstrated the care and common sense needed to move forward with our relaunch earlier than initially planned. Our data tells us our active cases are low, hospitalizations are trending downward and people are taking action to protect those most vulnerable and prevent the spread of the virus. We will continue to move forward together to overcome any tough times ahead, but responsible Albertans should be proud of the vigilance they have shown to date,” said Kenney.

Current data from June 8 show only 355 active cases and 44 people in hospital across Alberta. This is a decrease of almost 70 per cent in active cases since May 14 – when the province began Stage One of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy. Alberta has performed more COVID-19 tests per capita than most other jurisdictions in the world.

What can open Friday with restrictions

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • Libraries
  • More surgeries
  • Wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, artificial tanning)
  • Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • Movie theatres and theatres
  • Community halls
  • Team sports
  • Pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • Casinos and bingo halls (but not table games)
  • Instrumental concerts

The 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is also being lifted. 

“More Albertans can now return to work and to the activities so many of us enjoy. However, I encourage you to do it safely. Think of the people in your life who may be at high risk from COVID-19 and protect all those around you as you would want your loved ones protected. Stay home if you are sick. Stay two metres apart and wear a non-medical mask if you can’t. Consider downloading the ABTraceTogether app, and wash your hands often,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Events and gatherings can be larger in stage two

Maximum 50 people:

  • Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties

Maximum 100 people:

  • Outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events – including wedding and funeral ceremonies

No cap on the number of people (with public health measures and physical distancing in place):

  • Worship gatherings
  • Restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls

Still not approved in Stage 2

  • Social gatherings that exceed above listed maximums
  • Regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12. Classes will resume September 2020
  • Vocal concerts (as singing carries a higher risk of transmission)
  • Major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events (as these are non-seated social events and/or vocal concerts)
  • Nightclubs
  • Amusement parks
  • Hookah lounges (permitted for food and drink only)
  • Major sporting events and tournaments
  • Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until stage three of the relaunch strategy.

Kenney said Albertans should be “very proud” COVID-19 rates have come down, especially in Calgary and Brooks where they had previously been high.

He described the province as “bruised and grieving” the loss of 149 citizens from from virus.

“We are beat up, but not broken…we are far better than most,” said Kenney.

“We have to get Alberta working again.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

Manitoba announces quarantine rules for all visitors and returning residents

Alberta officials announced they have seen 20 cases of the virus variant from Great Britain and five from South Africa – something Manitoba wants to avoid

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Thinking of visiting friends and family in Manitoba – prepare yourself for a 2-week quarantine.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday that anyone coming into the province – including those from the West – will have to quarantine for 14 days.

“These measures are necessary to protect us from a more deadly version of the coronavirus that is not, as some would sadly hope, a short-term thing,” Pallister said at a press conference.

“If I have a regret from last year, I would suggest it was that we were trying too hard to educate, perhaps, and not enough maybe to make it clear that there are serious consequences if you don’t want to abide by the rules.

“We don’t want to make those mistakes again. We want to learn from them.”

The order also applies to Manitoban returning home and is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air.

The rules come into effect Friday at midnight. Anyone who lives east of Terrace Bay, Ontario, will not have to isolate.

Alberta health officials announced Monday they have seen 20 cases of the virus variant from Great Britain and five from South Africa. That’s something Manitoba wants to avoid.

“Early analysis shows, depending on the study you’re reading, that it can be up to 70 per cent more communicable and have the same impacts on morbidity, mortality and hospitalizations, if not worse, depending on what study we’re looking at, compared to what we have in the community right now,” acting deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal said in a conference call on Tuesday.

“We want to try to get ahead of it. We want to try to protect Manitobans, right? We want to ensure that those things are in place that mitigate that risk of that virus coming into Manitoba and if it does come into Manitoba, that we’re able to respond to it quickly.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Former finance minister Morneau drops bid to head OECD

Morneau said he hasn’t been able to gather enough support to win the job.

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Former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau – forced to resign during the WE scandal – says he is dropping efforts to become the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In a Tuesday tweet, Morneau said he hasn’t been able to gather enough support to win the job.

“I am proud to have had this opportunity to talk about issues that matter to Canadians and to the world,” Morneau said.

The OCED is an intergovernmental economic group with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Morneau resigned August 17, after clashing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of the WE charity scandal.

Morneau also resigned as a Toronto MP effective immediately.

Reports out of Ottawa said Trudeau was unhappy with Morneau over how his department crafted some policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as Morneau’s testimony at the finance committee studying the WE charity scandal.

Morneau told the finance committee that he had forgotten to reimburse $41,000 in free travel offered by WE to his family and himself back in 2017 until the day before the committee meeting.

“I wish that in hindsight, we had done things differently around the WE Charity. As I’ve said, I think that it would have been more appropriate for me to recuse myself from that decision,” Morneau told reporters.

“I’ve done my best, I’ve apologized for that, and then move forward. And I know that the important work that we’re doing is more important than that problem that we that we had.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Tory MPs banned from wearing face masks supporting energy industry

The Speaker made the ruling after Liberals MPs complained about the masks during an emergency debate on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project

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The Liberal Speaker of the House of Commons has banned Conservative MPs from wearing face masks that show support for Canada’s beleaguered energy industry.

The Speaker made the ruling Monday night after Liberals MPs complained about the masks during an emergency debate on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project by US President Joe Biden.

“This is absurd! The Liberals just pushed to have Conservative MP’s stripped of their face masks because they support Canadian #oilandgas,” tweeted Melanie Paradis, the director of communications for Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole.

“Speaker just ruled Conservative MP’s can’t wear their oil & gas face masks!!! #cdnpoli

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

Premier Jason Kenney told a Wednesday press conference he had “no regrets” about staking so much taxpayers’ money on the project.

Kenney has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his help getting the money back. Kenney has also said Alberta will sue.

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s money.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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