The restrictions currently in place for mass gatherings in Alberta will apply to all summer events and festivals.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, discussed large events at the provincial government’s daily press conference Thursday afternoon.
The restrictions prohibit gatherings of more than 15 people and require those gathered in groups with fewer than 15 people to maintain a distance of two metres from each other.
“Albertans are prohibited from attending any event that would violate these orders,” said Hinshaw.
“Many event organizers in Alberta have already taken it upon themselves to cancel or postpone events this summer. But I also know others were waiting for clarification for me.
“By providing this clarification now, I hope that organizers will be able to provide advance notice, to help them limit unreasonable expenditures and cancel contracts in a timely manner.”
These mass gathering restrictions will apply for the “foreseeable future,” she said.
“We’ll have to watch very closely over the summer and see how our numbers are and see whether or not we’re having issues with spread in order to make determinations about what happens in the fall.”
This decision “was not made lightly, but we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” she added.
There are 319 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the provincial total to 3,720.
Two more people died as a result of the virus, bringing the total to 68. Of the total cases, 1,357 people have recovered.
There is still just one active confirmed case of COVID-19 in the City of Red Deer – 31 have recovered. Red Deer County remains at one active case and 11 recovered cases.
The City of Lacombe has two recovered cases and Lacombe County has three recovered cases. There is one active and one recovered in Clearwater County, one active and one recovered in Ponoka County, three active and one recovered in Stettler and five recovered in Mountain View County.
Mass gatherings have been a “significant source of concern” during the pandemic, said Hinshaw.
“The weather is finally getting nicer and I know many of us want to be outside. I have repeatedly said being outdoors and active is important for both physical and mental health during these tough times, however, we need to remember a single case of COVID-19 can spread like wildfire in large groups of people.”
The province is working on updated projection modelling, but the public release of those models is uncertain at this time, said Hinshaw.