Premier Kenney makes announcement on COVID restrictions

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The mandatory provincewide restrictions which came into effect on December 8, 2020 will be extended until Thursday, January 21 at the earliest.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement on Thursday, January 7 during the regular COVID update informing Albertans the restrictions for individuals, businesses, and service providers would remain in effect; however, students across the province returned to classrooms for in-person learning on Monday, January 11 as scheduled.

“While there is a reassuring trend and a drop for cases in all school-aged groups in December following the most recent restrictions, COVID-19 does remain broadly spread across Alberta with few local exceptions,” Premier Kenney said during the announcement.

He added lower testing numbers over the holidays led to a decrease in reported cases and has caused some concerns for the impact following the holidays; locally, 11 new cases were reported between December 23 and Tuesday, January 5.

“Given the fact our case numbers, hospitalizations, and positivity rate for testing remains high, Alberta’s current health measures will remain in effect for at least two more weeks,” Premier Kenney stated.

Hair salons, tattoo and massage studios were among the businesses which were asked to close for all in-person appointments under the mandatory restrictions.

While tattoo studios and hair salons remained closed for in-person services, an exemption for massage therapists was given by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on December 22 to continue providing in-person services with a doctor referral.

The restrictions will be re-evaluated, and any affected businesses and service providers will receive a one-week notice ahead of any changes.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail