Face masks must be worn in all public spaces starting August 1.
What this means:
All Public Transit: Busses, shuttles, and CTrains.
Public vehicles for hire: Taxis, Ridesharing, vehicles for hire.
Public Indoor spaces: malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, churches
City of Calgary facilities: Recreation centres, City Hall, Libraries.
The primary focus is on educating Calgarians on the importance of wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces and public vehicles, rather than enforcement.
Failure to wear a face covering where required or failure to display prescribed signage can result in a penalty of $100 to $200.
Under the bylaw, business operators and owners are required to display signage in public entryways. A business is not expected to evict a customer or refuse service to people who are not complying with the bylaw.
What are the exceptions?
• Children under 2 years of age
• People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering
• People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance
• People who are eating or drinking at a public premises that offers food or beverage services
• People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
• People who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability (for example, the ability to lip read)
• People who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist)
Update from our Calgary – Varsity MLA Jason Copping
Physical distancing matters!
It’s still important as we re-open to stay 2 metres away from people outside your cohort. If you are more than a metre away from someone with COVID-19, you are five times less likely to get an infection than someone who is closer, and the risk is even lower when that distance is two metres. The overwhelming majority of Albertans are following instructions from public health officials and taking precautions to protect the most at-risk among us. We must remember that we are all in this together and we need to continue to practice physical distancing.
As our province continues reopening, our government will ensure supports are in place to help struggling Albertans and create good jobs. To date, our government has provided some $14 billion in support – more than any other province, on a relative basis – including:
• More than half a billion dollars in additional funding for our health-care system.
• Support for long-term care homes, and those who work in them.
• Emergency isolation payments, so sick workers could stay at home.
• Up to $200 million in small business relaunch grants for those who had to close.
• Support for homeless shelters, women’s shelters and food banks.
• More than $50 million in COVID-related mental health support for those struggling to cope.
• 40 million free masks to help control the spread.
• Funding to help day care operators reopen.
• Deferrals on utility bills, education property taxes, student loans and government fees.
• Access to credit for struggling employers.
• Policies to protect both renters and commercial tenants.
Safe return to school
Our government has been working with the School Boards, school authorities and our Chief Medical Officer on a comprehensive plan for students to return to learning in classrooms across Alberta at the beginning of the new school year.
Under scenario 1, schools will implement a number of public health measures, which include frequent cleaning of surfaces, placing hand sanitizers at school entrances and classrooms, grouping students in cohorts, and planning the school day to allow for physical distancing, which could include staggering start times for classes, recesses and lunches. Additional public health measures may be established prior to September on the advice of the chief medical officer of health in consultation with the education system.
Our government has also provided school boards an additional $250 million to support accelerated capital maintenance and renewal projects, as part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced in the Alberta Recovery Plan.
This funding supports infrastructure enhancements that will help in a COVID-19 learning environment. Seventy-nine school projects totaling $15 million are moving forward with this primary purpose, including upgrades for enhanced hygiene such as hands-free sinks, automatic flush toilets, touchless soap and paper towel dispensers, automatic doors and water bottle filling stations to replace water fountains.
To support parents and students with what to expect in the new school year, government has developed a re-entry toolkit. This toolkit includes videos for students explaining some of the health measures, a guide for parents, frequently asked questions, school posters, a self-screening questionnaire in multiple languages, and links to health guidelines.
The toolkit can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/k-to-12-school-re-entry-2020-21-school-year.aspx
Safe restart agreement
After weeks of negotiations, all 13 provinces and territories have reached an agreement with the federal government on a Safe Restart Agreement. This agreement will help our economy take the next steps to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 as we continue to keep Albertans safe and healthy.
This agreement addresses several areas of the economy and public health needs for the next several months and is valued at $19 billion. This will include funding for testing, PPE for front-line workers, child care, mental health, and protecting the most vulnerable, including our seniors. In addition this will include new funding for sick leave pay and funding help offset some of the lost operating revenue facing municipalities.
Continuing care facility restricted access changes
On July 23rd changes at continuing care facilities shifted from ‘restricted access’ to ‘safe access.’ This means that:
• Each resident can designate two support people who will be able to visit indoors for as long and as often as they wish, as long as they coordinate with the facility.
• Depending on the resident’s health, outdoor visits will be allowed with up to four other visitors, no longer requiring the presence of a designated support person.
• In some circumstances, when it is safe, these other visitors may also be able to meet indoors, if a facility has a designated indoor visiting space as part of their local visitor plan.
• Government is also setting out the possibility that some facilities can be less restrictive if their residents collectively agree to accept more risk.
Investing in jobs and innovation
Government is investing in 20 new projects that have the potential to reduce a combined one million tonnes of emissions by 2030 through Emissions Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) Natural Gas Challenge.
Alberta’s government is providing $58 million through ERA to support this opportunity to create more than 750 jobs in the natural gas sector.
Funding recipients include a project that uses artificial intelligence to locate and measure methane emissions, and a project to produce renewable natural gas from biogas at an agricultural facility that will be the first of its kind in Alberta.
A complete list of the successful Natural Gas Challenge can be found at https://eralberta.ca/apply-for-funding/natural-gas-challenge-unlocking-innovation-across-albertas-value-chain/
Creating jobs in Alberta’s technology sector
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, Alberta’s government is introducing the Innovation Employment Grant (IEG). This program will promote economic growth and job creation by supporting small and medium-sized businesses that invest in research and development (R&D).
The Innovation Employment Grant will be worth up to 20 per cent of qualifying R&D expenditures. Details include:
• An eight per cent payment on a corporation’s base level of R&D spending, providing stable support for all small and medium-sized firms undertaking R&D.
• A 20 per cent incremental payment on increasing R&D spending – an approach that is unique within Canada.