Walker: How Alberta is Combating COVID-19

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Hello friends and fellow Albertans, Alberta’s government has made great progress on its vaccination rollout. We continue to work tirelessly to keep Albertans safe and get them back to work.

With thousands of vaccines being administered daily, Alberta is consistently leading all major provinces for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Jan. 13, 66,500 Albertans have received a COVID-19 vaccine, with a record-setting 8,500 doses administered that same day. Alberta Health Services has the capacity to deliver 50,000 doses of the vaccine per week, once Alberta has the supply required to do so.

We would like to continue ramping up vaccination efforts and vaccinate many more people daily, but Alberta is limited by the federal government’s slow vaccine deliveries. The simple fact is we need additional product in Alberta. We know that life will only start to return to something resembling “normal” when a significant proportion of our population has been vaccinated, and we are committed to doing everything we can as a province to get us there as soon as possible.

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Beginning Jan. 18, there will be limited changes to the province’s public health measures. Based on recent assessment of provincial and regional trends, Alberta’s government is easing restrictions for outdoor gatherings, personal services and funeral attendance. Up to ten people will be allowed to attend outdoor social gatherings, and personal and wellness services will be allowed to open by appointment only. Capacity limits for funeral ceremonies will be increased to 20 people, so long as all attendees wear masks and maintain two meters of physical distancing. These adjustments are thanks to the efforts of Albertans over the past few weeks. We will continue to evaluate the latest public health data to assess if the current level of restrictions need to be adjusted.

Alberta’s government announced the expansion of the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to allow new businesses that began operating between Mar. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020 to apply. This makes up to 5,000 more Alberta businesses eligible for the grant. The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial aid to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees that faced closures or restrictions from public health orders and experienced a revenue loss of at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19. Those eligible to receive this grant can apply for up to $15,000. Businesses can use this funding to help offset the costs associated with relaunching their business.

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Locally, a Sherwood Park Olympian is looking for aid in his quest to return to the Olympics. Kevin Boyer is looking for funding to make his return to the Olympics after cuts due to the COVID Pandemic. Any financial support received will be used to cover the cost of lodging, transportation, COVID related costs, and coaching staff. Sherwood Park and Strathcona County denizens can help their local Olympian at this website; https://gf.me/v/c/xx2k/world-cup-season-support.

Finally, Habitat for Humanity has opened a new RESTORE location in Sherwood Park at 7 Streambank Avenue. They are open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

As always, it remains a privilege to serve as the MLA for Sherwood Park.

Jordan Walker is the Member of the Legislature Assembly for the Sherwood Park constituency. If you have any questions or comments about this column or any other provincial issues, he would like to hear from you. Please contact Walker’s constituency officer at 780-417-4747 or by email sherwood.park@assembly.ab.ca.

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