May 29, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE May 29, 2020

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I am pleased to see that barbershops, hair salons and restaurants in Calgary and Brooks have been able to open and that businesses are following the guidelines for reopening to protect both their employees and customers.  I want to thank you for all the hard work you have done and continue to do to flatten the curve and reduce the spread.  We must remember that we are all in this together and we must stay vigilant when we are out. Visit your favourite restaurant and local business, but please continue to be responsible and use common sense.

On June 1st we will see the opening of day camps, including summer school, with limits on occupancy, post-secondary institutions delivering courses; however, there will be more flexibility to include in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted, and places of worship and funeral services can be expanded, if they follow specific guidance already online.

Helpful Guidelines for Businesses
Grocery stores: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-grocery-stores.pdf
Malls & shopping centres: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-malls-shopping-centres.pdf
Interpretive attractions: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-interpretive-attractions.pdf
Hunting and fishing lodges: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-hunting-fishing.pdf
Hotel, motel, BnB, vacation rentals: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-hotels-motels.pdf
Day care and out of school care: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-daycare-out-of-school-care.pdf

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

20 million masks to be distributed to Albertans
A&W, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. and Tim Hortons are partnering with our government to distribute non-medical masks at no cost through their drive-thru locations across the province to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Distribution will start in early June.

  • Masks are provided in packages of four.
  • Masks will be available at almost 600 restaurant partner locations across Alberta.
  • Masks will be available only at drive-thrus, and only while supplies last. No purchase is necessary.
  • About 95 per cent of Albertans are located within 10 kilometres of these drive-thrus.
  • Mask use is not mandatory; they are an option for situations where maintaining a physical distance of two metres is not possible.
  • The mask distribution program is intended to supplement an individual’s efforts to acquire non-medical masks. Albertans who wish to use non-medical masks are encouraged to purchase their own supply from local retailers in addition to using those provided by government.
  • Instructions for proper care and use of non-medical masks is available on alberta.ca/masks.

AB TraceTogether App
With the lifting of some restrictions as we move towards the potential of phase two of our government’s relaunch, I would urge you to download the AB TraceTogether App. Having the app installed on your phone will decrease the workload of AHS in terms of the process for identifying who you may have been in contact with if you contract the virus.  Rather than AHS having to call everyone and try to identify those you may not even realize you were in contact with, the application would send a push notification. 

This is 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.
 

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/

Government updates

Returning to session
The legislature has returned to session this week with a continued focus on assisting Albertans through COVID-19.  In addition, we will be introducing at least 10 pieces of legislation, including affirming parental rights to make important choices about their children’s education, strengthening public safety and cutting red tape. 

I look forward to building on the progress made in the last session with moving our province forward on job creation, creating certainty for industry and protecting vulnerable Albertans.  

Protecting choice in education
Our government tabled Bill 15:  the Choice in Education Act this week.  This bill protects Alberta’s long history of education choice which includes public and separate schools, charter schools, independent schools and home education. 

We continue to fund education at $8.3 billion. Under Budget 2020 and the new funding model for K-12 education both the Calgary Public and Catholic School boards will see an additional 1.2 per cent increase.

As health and safety of our teachers and students remains a priority, we continue to work with school boards, teachers, parents and students to develop a re-entry plan for the upcoming school year.


Independent review of the Calgary Board of Education – final report
The province released the final report done by Grant Thornton Canada of the Calgary Board of Education.  The board has been issued a ministerial order with 19 recommendations to improve its governance and financial management.

The review did highlight some positives about the CBE’s operations, including having costs related to maintenance and planning that are comparable to other metro school boards. Procurement practices were also generally found to be appropriate to address related risks. However, Grant Thornton found a need for an improvement in governance and planning for financial sustainability.

You can find the summary of the report at https://www.alberta.ca/school-authority-reports.aspx

Funding for long-term care, supportive living facilities and seniors lodges
We know seniors are most at risk from COVID-19 and operators are facing rising costs to maintain operations, comply with provincial health orders and keep Albertans safe.  This is why our government is investing more than $170 million to help keep residents and staff in long-term care, designated supportive living facilities and seniors lodges safe from COVID-19. 

This funding will address urgent costs for enhanced staffing, cleaning supplies, loss of accommodation revenue and costs of additional precautions to be taken if an outbreak occurs.  Funding will be retroactive to March 15th with a requirement to report on the use of the funding.

Please note that June 1-7 marks the 34th Senior’s Week in Alberta.  See these innovative ways to keep connected and support our seniors during this challenging time.
https://open.alberta.ca/publications/celebrate-and-support-alberta-seniors

Kid’s Corner

I want to thank all of the students who have been working hard over the past few months with your studies.  I know what a challenge it must be to not be in the classroom and to be learning online. 

For those who were supposed to be in our provincial capital this spring and have a tour of the legislature, I want to share with you a video tour I did to show you some of the highlights of the legislature building and where I do a lot of my work.
 I also missed seeing those students in Grade 6 as I had a number of school visits lined up which had to be cancelled.  For those who want to learn a bit more about what it is like to be an MLA I encourage you to watch the following video on our provincial government and some of the questions I am asked.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hze1qptgrbbnzp6/14-05-20_leg_tour_video_copping_3.mp4?dl=0https://www.dropbox.com/s/plqzdnm3iad0v0p/Jason%20Copping%20Grade%206%20Video.mp4?dl=0

If you have any follow up questions or would like to learn more please feel free to reach out to my office at calgary.varsity@assembly.ab.ca.  Alternatively you can check out the Student Zone on the legislature website at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/visitor/student_zone/index.htm

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