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UCP MLA Pitt calls out Kenney on COVID lockdown restrictions

Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt was also one of the 17 members of the UCP caucus who went public earlier this year with a letter bashing Kenney over the lockdowns.

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Another Alberta UCP MLA has broken ranks with Premier Jason Kenney and spoken out against his most recent COVID-19 lockdowns.

Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt was also one of the 17 members of the UCP caucus who went public earlier this year with a letter bashing Kenney over the lockdowns.

“It’s no wonder why many of you are angry with additional restrictions and I agree,” Pitt wrote on her Facebook page over the weekend.

“Airdrie high schools only have 1 outbreak status and this school has been closed for 2 weeks! Makes sense to send the rest home…. “

“Ok then think about case counts, 368 in the entire city of over 72,000! We have no idea how many of those are in hospital.

“28% of Albertans have at least one dose of vaccine, most seniors are included here. We are to protect the vulnerable. We do that, cases still go up.

“Restrictions don’t appear to be working so we add more, enforce more, shut down healthy people activities like gyms. When do we change course? Our kids deserve better, our business owners and their families deserve better, our communities deserve better.”

Pitt becomes the second UCP – along with Cypress-Medicine Hat’s Drew Barnes – to publically go against the most recent lockdowns.

Last Thursday, Kenney launched yet another COVID-19 crackdown which includes possible curfews and increased enforcement of people at outdoor patios to make sure they are from the same family unit.

Kenney announced current lockdown measures haven’t been strong enough to bend the curve as a third COVID-19 wave – this time with variants – rolls through the province.

Saturday the province hit a new record of 2,433 cases in a 24-hour period.

The province will now be divided into hotspots – areas with 350 cases per 100,000 people.

Those hotspots are:

• Fort McMurray
• Red Deer
• Grande Prairie
• Calgary
• Airdrie
• Strathcona County
• Lethbridge
• Edmonton

Municipalities with those figures or higher can request to bring in a curfew if they wish. The government will implement a curfew where case rates are significantly high, specifically case rates above 1,000 per 100,000, and if a municipality or region requests it. Details will be announced prior to any curfew being implemented.

Junior and senior high schools in the hotspot areas will move to home learning. K-6 students will continue in-classroom learning unless otherwise approved by Alberta Education to shift to online-learning.

All gyms and indoor fitness activities are now cancelled. Outdoor fitness activities may continue under province-wide restrictions currently in place, including individual or household one-on-one training with a trainer.

All youth and adult indoor group physical activities, including team sports and one-on-one training sessions, are prohibited.

And Kenney said authorities will launch a crackdown on outdoor dining areas. Six people from the same household are allowed to dine together on patios. Kenney said AHS inspectors and police will be clamping down on people to make sure they are from from the same family.

And Kenney said those who are fined during the pandemic will not be able to access registry services until the fine is paid.

“Albertans have to step up to the plate in the next two weeks,” said Kenney.

For the first time Kenney, urged people to “stay home.”

He called variants “our new opponent” and added the new restrictions “underscore the gravity of the situation.”

Kenney noted only 5% of cases have been found to come from the workplace, with the rest being caught in social situations.

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

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

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    May 3, 2021 at 9:33 am

    For the last 100 years . . . “Cases” were Sick People . . .

    Now in the Wuhan Flu World . . . “Cases” are created by a PCR test, a device that Amplifies material, a Forensic Device that the Nobel Prize winning inventor said was NOT a diagnostic tool. How many of these “Cases” actually get sick? No one knows . . . likely few, maybe NONE.

  2. Dennis Richter

    May 3, 2021 at 7:58 am

    It is time for a change in Alberta to a common sense government For the People, By the People. What we have had for the past decade is not working. Become a Wildrose member, get involved and fix this problem. https://wildrose.party/

  3. Dennis Richter

    May 3, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Cases, cases, cases. Its all about cases and overwhelming the system. If that’s the concern, why not try something radically new. Instead of sending people home to isolate without any treatment, why not set the patient up with early regime of drugs that have proven to improve recovery and keep people out of the hospital. But no, just throw more money and keep doing the same old. Where is the leadership from this government and these so called “Health Experts”?

  4. Andrew Pludek

    May 2, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    We need all of the MLAs quitting if they dont stop this tyranny.

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

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The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.

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Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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