Premier Jason Kenney has announced stricter measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As of March 27, 56 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Alberta, bringing the total to 542. There are five confirmed cases in the Airdrie region.
So far, 33 people in Alberta have made a full recovery. 23 people are currently in hospital, with 10 of those receiving treatment in the ICU. Two people have died from COVID-19 in Alberta.
It's suspected up to 42 of the total cases are due to community transmission.
Taking everything into consideration, the province has now made the decision to limit all mass gatherings to a maximum of 15 people.
"This includes family gatherings such as weddings, funerals, as well as religious celebrations," says Kenney. "And while getting outdoors for fresh air and exercise is important to both our physical and mental health, this must not occur in groups of more than 15 people."
Kenney also reminded Albertans to observe the 2-meter social distancing guideline.
All non-essential businesses are also ordered to close immediately. This includes hair salons and barber shops, tattoos and piercing studios, aesthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
"Furthermore, all dine-in restaurants must close now for dine-in service, but they can continue to offer takeout and delivery services," says Kenney. "And non-essential retail stores like clothing stores, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centers such as hobby and toy stores, gift and specialty items and furniture stores must also close at this time."
Grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery services, and other essential businesses will continue to operate and can do so with more than 15 workers on site providing the business maintains public health measures.
A full list of businesses impacted by this announcement can be found HERE.
Kenney says all of these closures will be subject to the enhanced penalties and enforcement provisions that were announced earlier this week.
"The actions we are taking are tough but necessary to protect public health," says Kenney. "But the more that we comply with rules like these being recommended by our public health experts, the faster we can get through all of this and restart our economy."
It was also announced provincial parks and public lands will be closed to vehicle traffic.
More to come.