CALGARY -- Parking fees have been suspended for health-care workers and the general public at all Alberta Health Services facilities, the province announced Thursday.

Starting Friday, April 3, parking will be free at all AHS facilities for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province said the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in numerous health-care workers and physicians working from home, while others need to work at a number of different locations, creating challenges with parking passes.

Eliminating fees also reduces the contact visitors must make with touch screens and buttons at parking payment sites, reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Health-care workers and the general public should not have to worry about paying for parking in the midst of responding to COVID-19," said Alberta's Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

"Our government will provide whatever resources are needed to protect Albertans during the COVID-19 emergency."

The province estimates that the policy will cause a loss of around $7.6 million a month in parking revenue.

Alberta becomes the second province, after British Columbia, to suspend parking fees at health-care facilities.