Alberta’s Prime Minister Jason Kenny said the state would certify the COVID-19 vaccination program and reintroduce rally restrictions as state hospitals ran out of capacity due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.
The state also declared a public health emergency on September 15.
“There may be a shortage of staff and intensive care units within the next 10 days,” Kenny said.
“Unless we delay the infection, especially among unvaccinated Albertans, we cannot provide adequate care to all who become ill.”
The state is also seeking help from other states to use the intensive care unit and staff to assist in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Alberta has resisted the vaccine passport system in place in other states and had to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination before permitting the use of non-essential services.
Kenny said he was reluctant to approve what he called the “restriction exemption program.”
“This is the only responsible choice we have, as unvaccinated patients are currently overwhelming our hospital,” he said.
New regulations will be enforced in the state starting September 20, and you will need to show your vaccination certificate when entering non-essential businesses such as retail stores and restaurants.
There are opt-out programs available for companies that do not want to use the vaccine certification system. This program allows businesses to set distance rules and restrictions to reduce capacity and do business.
Other restrictions requiring a reduction in capacity at personal social gatherings such as weddings and funerals will come into effect on September 16.
Kenny apologized for the rapid transition of the state from a pandemic to endemic.
“It was wrong to talk about moving this from pandemic management to endemic management in July and August,” he said.
“I know we all wanted to be able to put COVID behind us this summer. That’s certainly my hope and I said it very clearly. “He added. “It’s clear that we were wrong, so we apologize.”
However, he said he was not disappointed that he had lifted the restrictions and ended the invasion of people’s lives.
“I think it’s also very important to understand that, at least in this society, a serious invasion of people’s lives cannot be sustained permanently. No, data-backed summer public health restrictions I do not apologize for this decision to alleviate. “
With files from Canadian Press