By Gillian Slade
Alta. Newspaper Group
Alberta Health has provided additional clarification on the new COVID restrictions announced this week, including for those who live alone and for places of worship.
No social gatherings are allowed at all except if you live alone, in which case you can decide on two people who will be your cohort for the duration. These two people may socialize in the home of the person living alone.
“Provided the other two people live alone, the single individual can visit them (also). Again, it must be the same two people at all times,” said Tom McMillan, spokesperson for Alberta Health.
Many households have a family – parents and kids – but there are couples, often older, who live alone with no family nearby. There are no exceptions regarding social gathering for these people.
“This does not apply to service such as providing family supports or health or child care,” said McMillan.
He also says a couple living on their own is not allowed to meet up at a restaurant with another couple who are alone.
People are allowed to attend places of worship where a “maximum of one-third normal attendance” is the new rule, unlike business premises where the number of people is calculated based on the fire regulation capacity.
“Faith leaders are in the best position to determine their normal congregant attendance and limit that attendance to one third. Options may include multiple services,” said McMillan.
There have been questions about why a home-based business can continue to operate but a small social gathering in a home is not allowed.
Social gatherings are currently a key driver of COVID-19 spread in Alberta and home-based businesses are required to follow restrictions for the service they provide, said McMillan.
“This includes specific health measures that they must follow. For example, beauty businesses must follow specific guidance for their sector, including enhanced cleaning measures, said McMillan.
If you violate a public health order, you may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Additionally, for egregious violations, more significant fines could be determined by a court for up to $100,000 for a first offence.
More details of the restrictions were published in the News on both Wednesday and Thursday.
If you see someone not following requirements the government suggests first reminding them of the rules. You can also submit a complaint to a public health inspector at Alberta Health Services onlinehttps://ephisahs.microsoftcrmportals.com/create-case/