Social gatherings across county limited to 15 people

·2 min read

Social gatherings in the County of Grande Prairie and the towns and village within it are now limited to 15 people.

The county was placed on watch status Oct. 27 and as such is now subject to the enhanced measures announced by premier Jason Kenney Friday.

Amid rising COVID-19 numbers across the province, all areas on watch now have that same 15-person limit.

At press time, the county has 30 active cases, including seven in the west county and 23 in the east and central portions, while the city has 100.

“Indoor and outdoor social gatherings are both subject to gathering restrictions in watch and enhanced areas,” said Tom McMillan, Alberta Health communications assistant director.

“Police and AHS public health inspectors can enforce the 15-person gathering limits.”

McMillan said fines of $1,000 can be issued and public health inspectors can also enforce the order by closing facilities.

The rest of Alberta has maximums of 50 people for indoor social gatherings, 100 for outdoor social gatherings and 200 for outdoor “audience-type” community events, according to the government.

Until Friday, only the Edmonton Zone and Calgary were subject to the 15-person maximum.

According to the Alberta government, social gatherings affected by the order include:

banquets and award ceremonies

wedding or funeral receptions

luncheons or potlucks

birthday or retirement parties, baby showers, dinners, backyard barbecues and other private gatherings

The order doesn’t apply to “structured events,” including:

seated-audience conferences, sports and shows

restaurants

fitness centres

funeral services

wedding ceremonies

worship services

Not all Christmas markets or fundraisers will be affected, McMillan told the News.

Farmers markets (often seen in the South Peace at Christmastime) aren’t considered gatherings, he said.

“Farmers markets, like malls, are not considered to be social gatherings, but rather organized and structured businesses,” McMillan said.

“Fundraisers can vary in their approach, so whether the social gathering restrictions of 15 people would apply will vary based on the structure of the event.

“For example, an auctioneer-led fundraising gala where all participants remain seated could have up to 100 attendees, but a silent auction style event where individuals are unseated, mingling, networking and perusing items could only have 15 attendees.”

Watch status is based on case numbers and whether an area has exceeded 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News