Press Releases

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 / Categories: Press Releases

Press Release - COVID-19 Update for Whitecourt December 9, 2020

Mandatory, province-wide restrictions announced by the Government of Alberta on December 8 have been put into effect to protect the health system and slow the spread of COVID-19.

These mandatory restrictions will in place at least until January 12, 2021.  Health officials are monitoring the situation and will adjust measures if required.  All Albertans, businesses, organizations and service providers must follow all new health measures.

Gathering Restrictions

Effective immediately, all indoor and outdoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited. This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers and co-parenting arrangements. Close contacts are limited to household members only. Individuals who live alone may have the same two non-household close contacts for the duration of this restriction.

Mandatory Mask Requirements

Effectively immediately, the Government of Alberta has implemented a requirement for masks in all indoor public places and workplaces across the province.  While Whitecourt’s Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw 1560 remains in effect, the Provincial restrictions supersede some requirements of the bylaw.  Masks are mandatory in all:

  • Indoor public places;
  • Places of worship;
  • Public Vehicles;
  • Indoor workplaces and facilities outside the home except:
  • when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle,
  • rental accommodations used solely for the purposes of a private residence,
  • farm operations.

The following exemptions apply throughout Alberta to a person attending an indoor public place if the person:

  • is a child under two years of age;
  • is unable to place, use or remove a face mask without assistance;
  • is unable to wear a face mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
  • is consuming food or drink;
  • is engaging in physical exercise;
  • is providing or receiving care or assistance where a face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • is alone at a workstation and separated by at least 2 metres distance from all other persons;
  • is the subject of a workplace hazard assessment in which it is determined that the person’s safety will be at risk if the person wears a mask while working;
  • is separated from every other person by a physical barrier that prevents droplet transmission; or
  • is a person who needs to temporarily remove their face mask while in the public place for the purposes of:
  • receiving a service that requires the temporary removal of their face mask;
  • an emergency or medical purpose; or
  • establishing their identity.

Stronger Public Health Measures

A number of retail restrictions and mandatory closures will come into effect Sunday, December 13.  For sector specific details on these stronger public health measures visit the Province’s website.  Until that date, all enhanced public health measures, which came into effect in Whitecourt on December 2, must continue to be followed.

Financial support programs are available to help people, families and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.  For more information, refer to Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan.

As announced by the Province,  the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant is available for businesses, co-ops, and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 to offset a portion of their costs.

Town of Whitecourt Operations

Whitecourt has a continuity plan in place to ensure essential services continue in our community uninterrupted, including road maintenance and utility services.  The following facilities remain closed to public access, however there is no change in service level to the community:

  • Whitecourt Fire Department,
  • Public Works Shop,
  • RCMP Detachment.

Due to the stronger public health measures, the following changes in service and operations will take effect Sunday, December 13, 2020:

  • The following facilities will close to the public until at least January 12, 2021:
  • Allan & Jean Millar Centre - Annual and continuous monthly memberships will be placed on hold during this time (scheduled EFT payments will be suspended for January, 2021) and all January in-person fitness classes will be postponed, registered participants will be contacted with a new start date;
  • Scott Safety Centre;
  • Whitecourt Public Library; and,
  • Forest Interpretive Centre - except for Support Groups.
  • Access to the Community Resource Centre will be limited.  Child care, out of school care, Family Support Program services, and the Whitecourt Food Bank will continue to operate.
  • Whitecourt Transit and Dial A Bus services will continue to operate with no changes to service.
  • The Twinkle Tour scheduled for December 19 and 20 is cancelled.  The Town of Whitecourt will be compiling a map of local light displays for community members to reference for self-guided tours.  Watch our social media platforms and website for information.

Outdoor recreation areas remain open for public use

Residents are encouraged to stay active, and are reminded that outdoor recreation spaces, including parks, public spaces, playgrounds, trails, and Toboggan Hill, remain open.  Use at all mentioned facilities is permitted by members of the same household if physical distancing is maintained from other people at all times. Crews continue to prepare outdoor rinks, and the Town of Whitecourt will inform the community when they are available for public use.

Help prevent the spread

Community members are asked to continue to be vigilant in following preventative health practices, including physical        distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.  For tips on how you can protect yourself and others visit www.alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx.

COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites:

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