Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has declared a state of public health emergency as the province works to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenney made the announcement Tuesday at the Alberta legislature.
Alberta’s Provincial Operations Centre has been elevated from a level 3 to a level 4, the highest level, Kenney said.
Bars and casinos will close immediately.
Seating in restaurants and coffee shops will be limited to 50-per-cent capacity, he said.
“We apologize to operators of these establishments for the suddenness of this, although I think they’ve seen it coming,” Kenney said.
Mass gatherings are now limited to no more than 50 attendees. This includes worship gatherings and family events such as weddings,” the province said in a news release.
Grocery stores, shopping centres, health-care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services are not included.
Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.
Not-for-profit community kitchens, soup kitchens and religious kitchens are exempt, but sanitization practices are expected to be in place and support will be in place for this practice.
The decision to put the province under a state of public health emergency is part of Alberta’s effort to try to slow the rising number of coronavirus infections.
“This is a serious moment in our history and COVID-19 will test us,” Kenney said. “We will do whatever it takes to slow the spread of this virus.”
Earlier Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in that province.
The announcement is being live streamed here now.