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News of the impending new measures followed a special meeting of Edmonton city council Wednesday to discuss the growing number of cases and recommended actions. Interim city manager Adam Laughlin said the city is calling on the province to reduce cohort and gathering limits to address the “increasingly unacceptable situation.”
“What is at stake is the safety of our community and the potential for overwhelming our health-care system. Today’s discussion is about the imperative of changing the behaviour of Edmontonians,” Laughlin told city councillors. “We support reductions to cohorts and a decrease in social gathering limits. This includes advising Edmontonians to restrict their Thanksgiving dinners to their immediate household members.”
Cohorts vary in size under current restrictions from 15 to 50 people depending on the type of activity. Gathering limits for outdoor community events, such as festivals and performances, is currently set at 200 people while the cap for indoor seated events and other outdoor gatherings, such as wedding ceremonies and funeral services, stands at 100. Indoor wedding and funeral receptions, as well as birthday parties, have a 50-person restriction.
The city is also looking at the possibility of restricting non-essential travel and calling on local businesses to implement a work-from-home policy where possible, Laughlin said. Even with the spike in cases, he said the possibility of a second state of local emergency is still far away, but the city will be monitoring its recreation centres to determine if capacity reductions or closures will be required.
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