Good morning! This is James Keller in Calgary.
Restaurants, hair salons, and other businesses in Calgary that were closed from the first phase of Alberta’s relaunch plan have received the go-ahead to open on Monday.
The province permits various businesses to open May 14, but Calgary and Brooks are placed on a different timeline than the other provinces. While retailers are allowed to open together with the whole province, restaurants, cafes, pubs and some personal service businesses such as hair salons and barber shops are told that they have to wait for at least May 25th.
Calgary has the highest infection rate in the province, responsible for more than half of COVID-19 cases in Alberta, while an outbreak in a beef slaughterhouse in Brooks infected hundreds of workers and spread to the community.
Prime Minister Jason Kenney praised the community’s members for following public health advice and continued to smooth the infection curve and said “vigilance” from Albertans helped win the war against COVID-19.
Alberta has recorded a total of 6,800 COVID-19 cases, 865 of which are considered active, and 134 deaths.
There were 32 new cases reported yesterday and two additional deaths.
Mr Kenney has said that Alberta is performing better than many countries in terms of infections and deaths.
Alberta has the fourth highest infection rate, far behind Quebec and Ontario, while the province is slightly behind BC. In terms of deaths, the provincial level of three deaths per 100,000 places it far below Quebec and Ontario, and is approximately tied to BC.
In both cases, Alberta is far behind national figures.
Leaders in Calgary and Brooks welcomed the decision to expand the launch in their communities.
The decision to postpone several openings in Calgary and Brooks was announced with less than a day’s notice, which angered restaurant owners who said they suffered heavy losses after spending money to buy food and prepare to open.
Sandip Lalli, president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday’s decision, which gave three days’ notice, was “a correction in direction.”
Ms. Lalli told me that businesses are still not sure whether they will be able to generate profits in the current environment from physical distance and reduced capacity, and they will look for what happens next month to signal how things might go away in the near future.
“This will only be a little trial and error for us.”
That last point has been a problem throughout the economy because it has become clear that even when businesses reopen, things will be far from normal.
For example, a British Columbia business survey found that only 26 percent said they believed they would be able to make a profit because the province allows more businesses to continue operations, in many cases with the same restrictions as Alberta and elsewhere.
This is a weekly Western Canada bulletin written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and the Head of the Alberta Bureau James Keller. If you read this on the web, or forwarded to you from someone else, you can register for it and all Globe newsletters here. This is a new project and we will continue to experiment, so let us know what do you think.
Around the West
DEFINITELY SAFE: The green light to prescribe safer opioid supplies, made possible by changes to the federal Drug and Controlled Laws and provincial prescribing guidelines, heralded by drug policy experts as an important step towards overdosing a crisis that has killed thousands of people largely because of highly contaminated drug supplies. In the two months since the announcement, around 450 people were confirmed to have been prescribed alternative medicines for illegal drugs under the new guidelines, according to health authority data. But the launch has stopped. Reluctance by many doctors and nurses to prescribe, partly because of accountability issues, means that people who can benefit from this regulated drug do not have a way to access it.
TENT CITY: Some advocates have called for approved tent cities, with services such as showers and running water, even as the province is completing a process to move around 600 people from three homeless camps: Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver and Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue sites in Victoria Vancouver will not make such requests, said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Instead, we need a permanent housing solution. “The federal and provincial governments have the means to deliver the housing we need, all that is needed is the desire to do it,” he said in a statement sent by email.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The Alberta government recently announced a panel to look at the problem of human trafficking with curious people: country musician Paul Brandt. Although it might not be so curious when you consider the extensive history of Mr. Brandt as an advocate for victims of human trafficking. Janice Dickson talked to Mr. Brandt, whose interest in the matter began 15 years ago during a trip to Cambodia, and skeptics who questioned his qualifications to run a government task force. Mr. Brandt said he welcomed the criticism as a way to keep him accountable and the panel: “I understand people’s concerns, but I see it as a privilege to bear the burden of criticism and controversy in the act of defending freedom. “
HATE POLICY: The Vancouver police department said it had seen a dramatic jumps in reported racial crime of people of East Asian descent – 29 since March, compared to only four in the same period last year. Howard Chow, deputy chief of the police department for operations, said hate crime was a wave that spread beyond those targeted: “Hate is dangerous. Right now, it’s anti-Asian, but it spreads like a virus and affects all of us. “
ALBERTA INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS: Next week, all passengers arriving in Edmonton and Calgary from destinations outside of Canada will be subject to scanning by infrared temperature sensing devices. If someone is known to have high temperatures through this home screen, provincial officials will carry out a second inspection with a touchless thermometer. Anyone who has a fever will be given a questionnaire about other symptoms. The drive to measure the temperature of travelers in contrast to the position of Theresa Tam, Canada’s Head of Public Health, who said earlier this month that examining fever as a screening method for COVID-19 was “completely ineffective,” in part because there were large numbers of people without symptoms or without symptoms.
DAYCARE: The universal childcare program is the ultimate election promise for NDP, but three years after its mandate, there are only 50 sites offering $ 10 per day childcare as a pilot project. Now, say advocates, this program can play an important role in helping British Columbia rebuild from the economic closure caused by a pandemic by allowing parents of small children to return to the world of work. But the government is not ready to develop.
LIMITATIONS ON MANITOBA: The Manitoba Government is trying to relax more restrictions on public and business activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Brian Pallister has released draft plans for bars, tattoo halls, restaurants in restaurants and other places to reopen. The draft also proposes that film production and sports held for adults and teenagers resume. No date has been set for the change, and Pallister said the timeline will be set in the coming days based on public input.
LIMITATION OF LIFTING SASKATCHEWAN: The Saskatchewan government says restaurants, fitness centers and nail salons can be reopened in about two weeks. Starting June 8, the restaurant will be allowed to operate at half capacity and restrictions will also lift some personal care services, childcare centers and places of worship. The government also plans to increase the collection limit of 10 people to 15 people indoors and 30 people outdoors. The increase should not occur until later.
Long Term Care Visit: That the latest guide on who can visit residents in long-term nursing homes in BC is responding to concerns by community members that previous orders that allow essential visitors are only interpreted differently by different care staff and facilities. Some facilities believe this only means end-of-life visits, for example, while new guidelines state explicitly that an important visitor can be someone who helps with personal care, communication, or decision making. Representatives designated for persons with disabilities are also allowed, including to provide emotional support. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the revision was intended to provide clear guidance to health care providers about the considerations they had to take when deciding whether the visit was important.
ALBERTA SAFE CONSUMPTION SITE: A Latest report from Alberta Health Services said the site, known as Safeworks, has had a steady increase in usage since it opened at the end of 2017, but its use has declined during March and April. While monitored consumption sites are allowed to remain open as important services, they operate at reduced capacity to facilitate physical distance and limit the spread of COVID-19. This report was released because supervised consumption services in Alberta face an uncertain future. It has been more than two months since the provincial government issued a scathing report concluding that the drug consumption sites being monitored were disasters in their environment. Prime Minister Jason Kenney said some sites could be closed or moved.
Kelly Cryderman in Alberta Energy Regulator reduces environmental monitoring: “This raises a clear question why restaurants, child care and barbers can be opened now, but programs that are looking for releases of volatile organic compounds, or some wildlife monitoring programs on oil sands sites must be closed.”
Alison Cretney and Juli Rohl in why do we need a non-partisan approach to the Alberta energy sector: “When the government looks towards reopening the economy and returning to the same life as we know it, this” Canadian Team “approach must be brought to address other problems faced by this country – perhaps especially at the intersection of energy, climatic climates. Indigenous changes and rights in Alberta, where the economic collapse of current events has been devastating. “
Tania Miller in what we lose when the orchestra and opera close: “In the days and weeks ahead, if you read about orchestras and operas that are closed for summer or longer, take a moment to feel the shock and sadness like this, for all of us. This is the pain I felt when I heard that Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera would no longer be open for the 2020-21 season. “
Adrienne Tanner in why a mask must be mandatory: “Bonnie Henry, BC Provincial Health Officer, suggested this week very gently, as is his custom, that there are certain situations when we all have to wear non-medical masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. He mentioned small shops, hair salons and transit; a place where physical distance is not possible. With the greatest respect – this is the woman who has allowed us to face a mild pandemic – when it is time to transit, she should go further. “
Nick Schumacher in what investments are really needed by the oil and gas sector: “What is really needed by the Alberta oil and gas industry is serious public investment in green technology to diversify the mix of provincial assets and reduce emissions. This will enable companies to attract investors who are concerned with ESG’s performance to be less vulnerable to falling oil prices and reduce opposition from environmentalists. Furthermore, public investment in clean technology can create more work rather than similar investments in fossil fuels. “
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