15-person limit on social gatherings in Calgary and Edmonton

CALGARY — Following record numbers of COVID-19 infections over the weekend, a 15-person limit has been placed on social gatherings in Calgary and Edmonton.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, announced the new measure during her regular update on Monday.

The limit does not apply to restaurants or organized social events like a wedding ceremony or funeral, but would be in place for things like wedding receptions.

“The events that fall under this particular measure would be events where people are mixing mingling, where they are there for that social gathering aspect of it,” said Hinshaw. “The reason that we are focused on those types of events is, we have seen about a third of our new cases in the last two weeks from outbreaks have come from these types of events. They’ve come from birthday parties, from housewarming parties, from wedding receptions.”

Hinshaw added just because a gathering has 15 or fewer people, doesn’t mean there is no risk of spread.

“You can have a gathering of 15 people, if you’re not following the rules, you can still get 14 people getting a new COVID case because somebody attended while infectious. So we want to encourage people not just to follow that 15-person limit, but also to make sure that they are letting people know if they are sick, they should not attend, that they are encouraging people to stay distant or masked if distancing is not happening. Those things should take place even if a gathering is under the 15-person maximum.”

The fine for failing to comply with health orders can be up to $1,000.

Hinshaw said the limit will be reassessed after one month. It can also be lifted if case numbers in the two cities fall below 100 per day.

Alberta reported 1,440 cases of COVID-19 since Friday, including more than 500 cases both Saturday and Sunday.

The province has a new pandemic high of 4,477 active coronavirus cases — an increase of 826 since the latest update —after it added 364 cases on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday.

Saturday’s count is the highest daily increase Alberta has had to date.

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