'I want to see the Premier of Alberta prosecuted’: Canadians stunned as Kenney refuses to apologize for easing COVID-19 restrictions

·4-min read

The Alberta government has now declared a state of public health emergency as COVID-19 continues to significantly spread across the province.

"We may run out of staff and intensive care beds within the next 10 days," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"Unless we slow transmission, particularly amongst unvaccinated Albertans, we simply will not be able to provide adequate care to everyone who gets sick, based on current trends."

Alberta has now introduced stricter COVID-19 restrictions across the province in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the new restrictions now effect include:

  • Mandatory work-from-home measures at workplaces unless the employer has determined a physical presence is required for "operational effectiveness"

  • Indoor private gatherings for vaccine-eligible, fully vaccinated individuals are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 people

  • Outdoor private social gatherings are permitted to a maximum of 200 people

Some additional restrictions that come into effect on Sept. 20 include:

  • Outdoor dining only with a maximum of six individuals per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone)

  • All indoor wedding ceremonies and services are limited to 50 attendees or 50 per cent fire code capacity, whichever is less, and no indoor receptions are allowed

Beginning on Sept. 20, individuals eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative privately paid COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours to access non-essential businesses services, with the introduction of the "restriction exemption program."

"Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program would operate as usual, provided they are serving only people who have proof of immunization or who have a recent privately paid negative test, as per the requirements in place," information from the provincial government reads.

While Alberta is implementing new restrictions, the provincial government is receiving extensive criticism on its management of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, particularly after introducing its "Open For Summer" plan earlier this year.

We were wrong in talking about moving this from pandemic management to endemic management in July and August. I, frankly, don't think we were wrong to lift public health restrictions in July, we actually saw that case counts and even the Delta variant continued to stabilize, and even come down in most of July.Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

"I also think it's critically important to understand that, at least in this society, you can't sustain serious intrusions into people's lives permanently. No, I don't apologize for the decision to relax public health restrictions in the summer...when numbers were declining and vaccine numbers were going up, supported by the experience of other jurisdictions around the world. To have maintained damaging restrictions, all through the summer, would, I think, have only resulted in massive noncompliance and even more [anger].

Kenney added that he said "optimistic" things in the summer because he believes it is the "job of a leader" to "convey a sense of hope and optimism, not a sense of despair and pessimism."

Several people, including health professionals, took to social media to comment on Alberta's COVID-19 situation.

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