Alberta looking at possible 'modest relaxation' of indoor gathering rules ahead of Christmas
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says meetings Thursday and next week will determine whether indoor private gathering rules will be eased ahead of Christmas.
"Albertans have been very patient, they got this fourth wave under control," Kenney said to journalists Wednesday.
"That's why we will be looking at some more potential modest relaxation of measures going towards Christmas, but we'll be looking at all the different data in making that decision."
Indoor social gatherings in Alberta are currently limited to two households, to a maximum of 10 vaccinated individuals. The limit does not apply to children under the age of 12.
Unvaccinated Albertans are not supposed to have any indoor gatherings at all, according to the rules updated in October. But the premier acknowledges that some people will just choose not to abide by the rules, whatever they are.
"You can have a hardcore lockdown on paper, but if nobody observes the rules, it doesn't matter at all," he said.
"That is why we've always tried to be mindful of the where the public is at in terms of their willingness broadly to comply with public health rules and guidelines."
IMPACTS OF THE OMICRON VARIANT
Just last week, Dr. Deena Hinshaw warned it was not the right time to ease gathering rules. Health officials across the globe are trying to determine what the impacts of the Omicron variant will have on health-care systems.
"Even though our numbers have come down from their peak, when it comes to hospital and ICU capacity, we need to make sure we’re looking very closely at our system capacity, potential impacts if there were to be increased transmission from easing measures," Dr. Hinshaw said on Tuesday.
Kenney says Alberta's cabinet committee that decides on rules and guidelines meets on Thursday and next Tuesday. At that point, more information on whether rules will be relaxed before Christmas will be released.