CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Reaction continues to pour in after Alberta announced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
While some people and groups say the restrictions are good others believe it doesn’t go far enough.
The City of Calgary says it will work with the province to figure out how to support the new measures at the local level, and what enforcement will look like.
The city is in support of the health measures and will provide more information about its own response on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, some health care groups including the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) believe even tougher restrictions are needed.
WATCH: New COVID restrictions for Alberta
“The Premier keeps saying Albertans need to do their part while he has consistently failed to do his,” said President Mike Parker in a statement.
“He continues to put business interests ahead of the well-being of all Albertans. We have some of the worst COVID-19 numbers in Canada and it’s Kenney’s failure to act in the best interest of all Albertans that is to blame.”
Parker recently signed a letter to the Premier, along with other health-care leaders and more than 400 doctors, calling for a circuit-breaker lockdown, a province-wide mask mandate, mandatory paid sick leave, and increased funding for schools to support smaller class sizes.
“The measures announced today are inadequate,” added Parker. “While Albertans are getting sick and dying at alarming rates, the Premier is on TV talking about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Masks are not political, they are about protecting each other, something Kenney has shown he has no interest in doing.”
Opposition leader Rachel Notley echoed those statements on Tuesday addressing the media after Kenney’s announcement.
“Alberta remains the only place in the country where there is no provincial mask mandate, despite having the worst per capita cases in Canada,” said Notley. “This government has abandoned medical science in service of political convenience.”
Notley is calling for stricter measures on bars and restaurants and more support for small and medium-sized business.
However, there are some groups that welcome the new restrictions including the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA).
In a statement, ATA President Jason Schilling welcomes the changes to schools that will see grade 7-12 move to online learning as of Nov. 30 and the winter break extended by one week.
“Teachers have been concerned about the rising number of COVID cases in Alberta and the impact this increase is having on schools. We are counting on government to monitor and assess the success of the measures introduced today as the situation continues to evolve.”
Support our Students Alberta (SOS), said the measures are a good start but the government still needs to make sure students and staff are safe when they return in January.
Spokesperson Wing Li said many schools have already moved to online learning due to outbreaks.
“There’s already a lot of schools that are half-closed. You’ve got grades 12, 10, 11 all online in Calgary in some of those bigger high schools. It’s really not that much different what they are announcing.”
Another group pleased with the restrictions is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
Annie Dormouth with the CFIB is grateful the province did not shut down businesses as they are already dealing with reduced capacity and extra costs.
“Small businesses right now are making enough revenue to squeak by and just keep the lights on right now. In addition, 40 per cent of Alberta small businesses said they would not be able to survive if locked down a second time.”
Social media is also chiming in on the new restrictions with #mockdownAB trending on Twitter. Many users say the new rules will not have the desired effect Kenney is looking for, and are just a strategy to boost restaurants and other businesses.
So what Jason Kenney is saying is that you can't have a family member over for dinner at your house … but you CAN if you pay for a restaurant meal. Is this a strategy to boost restaurant business, or just insane? #mockdownAB
— Maurice Tougas (@mtougas) November 25, 2020
The new restrictions in AB will not have the desired effect. They aren't strong enough to reduce the spread, and they are too strong to allow businesses to function.
Cases are doubling every 3 weeks & modelling has us at 2,200 cases by Dec 8th, 4,400 by Dec 28th. #mockdownAB
— Cobra Chicken® ???????? (@FrankieSaysNews) November 25, 2020
Kenney said the new restrictions will be in place for at least the next three weeks before they are re-evaluated.