ATHABASCA - Just a few days after each passing face-covering bylaws, the Town of Athabasca and Athabasca County have now reached the threshold to activate them.
At about 4 p.m. Nov. 22, the province added three more active COVID-19 cases within the borders of Athabasca County, officially putting the three municipalities — the town, the county and the Village of Boyle — under 'Enhanced' status, putting the new bylaws, approved just last Tuesday, into effect.
The bylaw (see page 4) states the measures therein would automatically come into effect when the number of active cases reached 10, and the rate of active cases per 100,000 residents reached the 50 range. With today's numbers from the province, there are now 10 active cases, and a rate of 75.8. The area surrounding Boyle, in the southeast corner of the county has five of the 10 active cases.
The county was the first to pass the bylaw, followed by the town that night. Village of Boyle councillors opted instead for an education campaign in the community. The 'Enhanced' status from the province though, puts all three municipalities under provincial measures.
The new status came along with a more restrictions from the province, which Westlock County and three other neighbouring municipalities have been under since Nov. 13.
- No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community. Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other business that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.
- Fifteen-person limit on social and family gatherings — indoors and outdoors — where people are mixing and mingling.
- Limit of three cohorts: your core household, your school, and one other sport or social cohort. Young children who attend child care can be part of four cohorts.
- Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or an appropriate barrier is in place.
- Employers in office settings to implement strategies to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.
- Restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
- 50-person limit on wedding ceremonies and funeral services.
- Faith-based gatherings limited to one-third capacity at one time.
A notification from the provincial government stated Sunday new targeted health measures are in place in the region.
"COVID-19 cases continue rising across Alberta. Targeted public health measures are in place. This is our last chance to avoid more restrictive measures. Together, these measures will help protect our health care system, keep schools and businesses open, and protect vulnerable Albertans by limiting the spread of the virus."
Westlock County currently has 18 active cases and a rate of 131.6 per 100,000 residents; the M.D. of Opportunity sits at 13 active cases and a rate of 195.6; Lac La Biche County has 18 active cases and a rate of 177.3, concentrated within the Hamlet of Lac La Biche; and Smoky Lake County has 63 active cases with a rate per 100,000 residents of 748.1.