May 20, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE May 15, 2020

Relaunch – Phase 1

With phase one of Alberta’s relaunch beginning, the safety of Albertans remains our government’s top priority.  It is important that business operators and employers work together on the health and safety protocols set out by Dr. Hinshaw. Customers also need to respect these protocols and practice the physical distancing behaviours of the last few months. It will be up to each business to determine if they are ready to open and to ensure all public health guidelines are met.

Phase one and the relaunch will only be successful if all Albertans continue to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19.  We must continue to follow the health guidelines and social protocols that our Chief Medical Officer has put in place and we need to continue to practice physical distancing and abide by current health orders. Depending on the success of phase one our government will target June 19 for phase two.

As Calgary has a higher number of cases the relaunch for our city will be more gradual than other areas.  Gradually lifting restrictions in our city will give us a little extra time to prepare for safe reopening.  

Calgary phase one
Opening May 14:

  • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
  • The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually.
  • Regulated health professions are permitted to offer services long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.

Opening May 25:

  • Hairstyling and barber shops.
  • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to reopen for table service only at 50 per cent capacity.

Opening June 1:

  • Day camps, including summer school, will be permitted, with limits on occupancy.
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses; however, more flexibility may be provided for how courses are delivered – whether online, in-person, or a blend.
  • Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow specific guidance already online.

For further information on the relaunch please visit http://alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy
If businesses have specific questions on reopening, they can email http://bizconnect@gov.ab.ca
If you have any questions related to occupational health and safety you can go to https://www.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.aspx

Advice from Dr. Hinshaw on Summer Vacation

Dr. Hinshaw has provided the following advice to Albertans who are asking about their summer travel plans to summer homes, cabins and cottages within Alberta.

  • Responsible travel to these locations is permissible, with consideration to local community guidelines.
  • Respect the health and safety of small communities and plan your trip with minimal stops where possible.
  • Pack your own food and stop only for gas if necessary.
  • And as always, take all the necessary precautions to protect your health and the health of those around you.
  • Communities that include private recreational facilities like lakes, sports courts, or trails, may also be wondering whether they can safely resume operations for their members and visitors:
    • Operators may choose to do so, but must follow the workplace guidance available on our website.

Government updates

Utility Payment Deferral Program ActGovernment has passed the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act  supporting the Utility Payment Deferral Program, which allows Albertans experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 to defer their utility payments until June 18.

  • Utility providers are committed to keeping the lights on for Albertans and we in turn need to make sure we are doing what we can to support them if needed.
  • This Act enables electricity and natural gas providers to apply for loans, ensuring they have the cash flow to support Albertans through these unprecedented times.
  • This Act will also lay out repayment criteria for Albertans who have chosen to defer their payments as part of the program.
    • Repayment can occur through regular monthly installments once the program ends, or through a repayment plan agreed to by the retailer and the customer. All deferred payments must be paid back by June 18, 2021.

You can call your local utility provider to arrange for a deferral.


Student Learning

Our education continuity plan is working, and students continue to receive teacher-directed, at-home learning. While in-person classes are cancelled for the remainder of the year, students will continue to learn at home. No decisions have been made on how the 2020-21 school year will resume.

I understand this new way of learning can be a challenge for both students and parents. It isn’t always easy to know where to find supports or what to do, especially for those parents of students with disabilities.  

Alberta Education has created a help line for parents and families to call if they have questions or require resources.  Staff are available to answer questions or direct parents to resources provided by their school authority.  

The help line can be reached at 780-422-6548 (toll free by first dialing 310-0000), or by email at http://studentsupport@gov.ab.ca
 

AB TraceTogether App

As part of our relaunch strategy, our government has launched a voluntary, secure contact tracing mobile application to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As protection of personal privacy is crucial to Albertans and to our government this app will not track the user’s physical location and will not use GPS.  All TraceTogether data is stored only on the user’s phone, and is automatically deleted after 21 days.How it works:

  • AB TraceTogether uses Bluetooth technology to log interactions as an encrypted “digital handshake”.
  • This happens when two phones with the app get within two metres of one another for an overall total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period of time.
  • In the event someone with the app tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to allow contact tracers at AHS to use this information to further enhance manual contact tracing and allow other app users to be contacted so they can be informed if they have been potentially exposed.
  • Even when app users who may have been exposed are contacted, user identities will not be shared.
  • Users will be informed that they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Previously, public health professionals at AHS would have no way to know about the encounters of a COVID-positive patient if they cannot recall them by memory, or if they came into contact with an unknown person.
  • Now AHS can contact that person and let them know they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

For more information on Alberta government updates related to COVID-19 please go to https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Mental health and Addictions Support

Addiction Helpline at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/Service.aspx?id=1008399&serviceAtFacilityID=1047128

Mental Health Helpline at  https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/Service.aspx?id=6810&serviceAtFacilityID=1047134

Kids Help Phone at https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/contact-us

Community and Social Services Helpline at Alberta 211 https://www.ab.211.ca/

https://mailchi.mp/56ba0dde27fb/covid-19-update?e=%5bUNIQID%5d

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