EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it has taken legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including one at a central Alberta cafe that was closed for not following the rules.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services closed the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror until its owner can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions.
The agency says it had received more than 400 complaints against the business since January.
Alberta Health Services says it has been granted a pre-emptive court injunction against a planned protest by the cafe owner and supporters.
It says it also has received a court order against all other organizers of advertised illegal gatherings and rallies breaching COVID-19 public health orders.
There is an ad promoting a rally this weekend at the cafe in Mirror called "The Save Alberta Campout Protest."
The ad says the event is a response to "harmful restrictions" imposed by Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, and "the United Conservative Party caucus' ongoing attack on the rights and freedoms of the people of Alberta."
Alberta Health Services says the court order restrains the cafe owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event.
"AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions and advertising social gatherings which, if held, breach current and active CMOH Orders and pose a risk to public health," the agency said in a release Thursday.
"AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public health restrictions,"
The agency says with COVID-19 cases increasing in the province, including the more easily transmitted and potentially more severe variants, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans.
Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered near Bowden, also in central Alberta, for a pre-advertised maskless "No More Lockdowns'' protest rodeo.
Days later, the premier announced stronger restrictions and doubled fines for scofflaws
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021
The Canadian Press