Bars, restaurants, casinos, gyms and more enterprises are facing closure once again as a new wave of COVID-19 hits Canada. All indoor and outdoor social gathers are banned of course and it will be for at least one month. Mandatory mask wearing is a province-wide rule now.
Call it a lockdown if you will, but the results are the same. Alberta is reporting bans per Premier Jason Kenney in the face of over a thousand new cases. Kenney announced a major shutdown of Alberta businesses after heeding a host of calls from health experts for stronger restrictions.
To be more specific, restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafes are closed to in-person service but takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery is still allowed. As for the entertainment sector, casinos, bingo halls, entertainment centers, horse tracks, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions, private clubs are set to close.
Also unlucky businesses like fitness/recreation centers, pools, spas, gyms, studios and arenas will stay closed. Retail services are okay with opening to 15 percent fire code capacity or five customers. This also goes for shopping malls.
Hotels are open on a limited basis with indoor dining, spas and pools closed. Those concerned about places of worship must accept the 15 percent of fire code occupancy rule. No going to libraries, museums, art galleries, or amusement and water parks. Just forget indoor recreation at all, but some outdoor spaces remain open.
Meanwhile people are recommended to work from home unless in an essential business or occupation. Measures could get tougher for Albertans as we head toward Christmas. Personal and wellness services, including hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing, will not be allowed to accept customers.
On the positive side, physiotherapy/acupuncture, social/protective services, shelters, emergency services, childcare, and not-for-profit community kitchens can remain open. Still at issue are some schools.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is fighting for public health measures and is about to call an emergency council meeting. Restrictions will need public support in the long run to survive a dark season. It is clearly a step in the right direction.
But there is some opposition and denialism. For the second week in a row, hundreds have gathered in both Calgary and Edmonton in defiance of restrictions on large public gatherings. They are protesting the province’s current public health measures, especially the mask mandates in effect in both cities.
Politicians and others argue for these stronger measures since the government has an obligation to protect Canadians. It may come down to protecting the Charter rights and freedoms of individual Canadians if restrictions go too far.
According to Nenshi,
“I’m giving (the province) a chance to do the right thing…It would be very shocking if, given where the numbers are, the province would say, don’t keep people safe.”
Nenshi maintains the power of city officials to legislate matters regarding the health and the welfare of citizens. If it comes down to it, he will take action.
Meanwhile, the first vaccines could arrive by the end of December having been approved by Health Canada. In the words of Prime Minister Trudeau,
“Our objective is to provide a safe and effective
vaccine to Canadians the earliest possible.”
Canada is set receive up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech. The duration of such restrictions may finally come to a close.