Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19 in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Alberta is implementing widespread business closings, restrictions on work and social gatherings, and a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces after largely voluntary measures proved ineffective in controlling coronavirus transmission in the province.

The announcement Tuesday is a dramatic shift in direction for the province, which has resisted aggressive pandemic measures even as it faces infection rates that are by far the highest in the country. A sudden spike in COVID-19 infections is already overwhelming hospitals and intensive care units, and thousands of surgeries have had to be cancelled or postponed.

Alberta is making its move as other provinces extend restrictions to effectively prohibit large holiday dinners and New Year’s celebrations.

Story continues below advertisement

Effective immediately, Alberta is prohibiting all indoor and outdoor social gatherings, public and private. Close contacts are limited to household members only, and masks will be required for all indoor public spaces provincewide, with the exception of farm operations.

As of Sunday (Dec. 13), restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be closed to in-person service. Casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, fitness centres, indoor rinks and arenas, libraries and personal service establishments such as salons and barber shops will also be closed.

Retail businesses, including shopping malls, and places of worship are permitted to remain open at 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. As well, all Albertans will be required to work from home unless an employer determines that work requires the employee to be physically present.

Premier Jason Kenney has claimed that such restrictions are in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, though legal experts have rejected that argument.

“Behind every one of these restrictions lie crushed dreams and terrible adversity,” Mr. Kenney said. “Life savings, years of work, hopes and dreams that are suddenly undone due to no fault of brave Albertans who have taken the risk to start businesses and to create jobs, constitutionally protected rights and freedoms that are being suspended and abridged are the consequences of many of these measures.”

Mr. Kenney said his government would also increase the province’s Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to $20,000, from $5,000, while lowering eligibility threshold to 30 per cent of revenues lost, from 40 per cent, and making it retroactive to March. He did not announce supports for people who have lost employment.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw said more than 72,000 Albertans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including more than 20,000 who are currently infected.

Story continues below advertisement

“If you gathered everyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 together, it would be the fifth-largest city in Alberta,” she said.

On Oct. 8, Alberta’s positivity rate was 1.34 per cent and the province recorded 184 new cases provincewide, Dr. Hinshaw said. On Tuesday, it was 9.41 per cent, with the seven-day average of new cases sitting at 1,785.

“There have been outbreaks in almost every type of group setting: parties, family dinners, sports cohorts, long-term care facilities, schools, hospitals, workplaces and supported living facilities, just to name a few examples,” she said.

As of Tuesday, 640 Albertans had died from COVID-19, including 250 in a single month.

Meanwhile, other provinces formally extended restrictions this week. In Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister said that orders on gatherings, retail operations, places of worship and various non-essential services that came into effect more than two weeks ago are working – and must continue.

In extending the restrictions to Jan. 8, he said his province’s case counts were down by 0.4 per cent last week, compared with the previous week, while other provinces increased.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is not a victory lap,” Mr. Pallister said Tuesday. “These numbers are not sustainable. We need to do more. But Manitobans need to know that what they’ve done has helped. It has made a difference. It has saved lives. It has helped our hospital system not to be crowded and overrun.”

Manitobans are prohibited from inviting into their private residences anyone who does not normally live there, with some exceptions, such as for health care or parenting reasons. People who live alone are permitted to invite in one person with whom they regularly interact.

Retailers that are permitted to stay open for in-person shopping can only sell essential items, but Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Brent Roussin announced Tuesday that the province will be granting seasonal exemptions to allow for some holiday purchases, such as decorations and religious items. Drive-in events, thrift stores and food banks will also be permitted to operate with safety precautions.

On Monday, B.C. also extended its restrictions on gatherings and public events to Jan. 8. British Columbians are to socialize only with their own households, while people who live alone can maintain two close contacts.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies