Albertans received tough news on Tuesday, learning that more health measures are being introduced to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
After weeks of lukewarm decisions and dangerous inaction, Premier Jason Kenney announced health measures were being enacted to hopefully change the direction of COVID-19 in the province.
While the province has not moved into a full lockdown, these measures are stringent, complex and targeted.
The goal of these measures is to limit the transmission of the virus, which in turn would aid in the economic recovery of Alberta.
These new measures include no indoor social gatherings in any setting, outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people, wedding and funeral services can have a maximum of 10 people, no festivals or events can take place, Grade 7 to 12 will begin at-home learning on Nov. 30 and working at home should be considered when possible.
The news came after 1,115 new cases of the virus were identified in Alberta in a 24-hour period and 348 people are in hospital, including 66 in intensive care.
To date, 492 Albertans have died from the virus.
This news is upsetting as it comes at the start of the holiday season when typically, most of us are busy as Santa’s elves buying presents, trimming trees and preparing for Christmas feasts with families.
Unfortunately, this is not possible and we now have a precarious balance of limiting the spread of COVID-19 while attempting to ensure our economy is not crushed under the weight of the virus.
No one wants to see more small Alberta businesses close, and no one wants to see more loved ones die from COVID-19. The fact that we are told that these are the only two options before us is deeply concerning and politically motivated false dilemma.
Why can’t this government seem to find the willingness and means to support businesses through one of the toughest economic challenges we have faced as a province, and save lives at the same time?
For now, we must wait three weeks to see if the measures introduced go far enough. These are the types of measures that had they been in place a month ago, we could have been heading into December in a better position overall.
We must weather this storm together for now and hope these measures will be enough to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Because it seems like hope is the only thing we can rely on to get us through this crisis. Relying on Albertans to “do the right thing” and strongly worded recommendations have put us in the position we are in now.
To those in our community that do not believe the experts and scientists that COVID-19 is a real danger to lives and the economy, we ask that you heed these new rules, even if you disagree with them. If experts are right, by doing so you will save a life and that is what this is all about.
Because personal freedoms aside, the freedom to be alive and to continue to life your life uninterrupted by an early death— Is the ultimate right we all have and trumps any personal inconvenience someone might experience.
For now, stay strong and support each other. We will survive this pandemic as a community.