Press Release - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for Whitecourt - March 26, 2020
The Town of Whitecourt continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic across Alberta, and has adjusted operations per the direction and recommendation of the Province of Alberta. On March 17, 2020, the Town of Whitecourt activated its Emergency Management Plan and partially activated Whitecourt’s Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC). The ECC activation allows Town management to provide community responses that support Alberta Health recommendations, and protects and assists our residents and staff during this event. Whitecourt has a continuity plan in place to ensure essential services continue in our community uninterrupted.
Over the past week a number of facility closure and service changes have been announced by the Town of Whitecourt. For an overview of facility closures and operational changes during the COVID-19 pandemic please visit the Whitecourt website at www.whitecourt.ca/COVID-19. As announced on March 25, 2020, all playground structures in Whitecourt are closed until further notice. Open spaces, trails and pathways remain open so that individuals and families can remain active; however, residents are reminded to follow physical distancing practices recommended by the Government of Alberta.
As announced by the Government of Canada on March 25, anyone returning to Canada from abroad must self-isolate upon their return. This has been invoked per the Quarantine Act.
As declared on March 17, Alberta is now in a state of public health emergency to protect Albertans from the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health measures have been put in place by the Government of Alberta to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Self-isolation orders are now the law and must be followed. Law enforcement has been granted full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines. People are now legally required to self-isolate if one or more of the following applies:
- They are recently returned from travel outside Canada.
- They have fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose.
- They are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Through the amendments to the Procedures Regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health order.
- Fines administered through tickets for violating an order are $1,000 per occurrence
- Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
The following public health orders subject to fines for violation include:
- Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
- Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.
- Any individual who has been identified by Alberta Health Services as a close contact of a person(s) with COVID-10 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
- Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
- Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.
- Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.
Albertans who witness/are aware of individuals who are not following self-isolation orders are to:
- Take proper precautions and, if possible, distance yourself from the individual to limit your risk of exposure if they have symptoms.
- If possible, remind the person that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk.
- Notify local law enforcement immediately of any individuals who are not following the self-isolation orders by submitting a complaint online at https://ephisahs.microsoftcrmportals.com/create-case/.
The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints.
COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites: