Limits on outdoor social gatherings eased, Dr. Hinshaw stresses COVID situation still serious

Starting Monday, January 18, Albertans are allowed to gather in outdoor social gatherings in groups of up to 10 people. 

“By easing some measures, like outdoor gathering limits, we hope Albertans can have interactions that support mental health and limit isolation, while still continuing to limit in-person interactions, whenever possible in other ways,” said provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. 

Indoor social gatherings are still not allowed. 

As of January 18, personal and wellness services may reopen by appointment only. This includes: 

• hair salons

• barber shops

• esthetics

• manicure and pedicure

• reflexology

• piercing

• tattoo shops

Also as of Monday, the limit on funeral attendance is raised to 20 people. Funeral receptions remain prohibited.  

You know the drill

In loosening the limits on outdoor social gatherings, provincial officials stressed the need to keep at least two metres apart and not use indoor facilities while gathering outdoors. 

Other public health measures announced in December remain in effect. 

Situation serious

Dr. Hinshaw said the COVID-19 situation remains serious. 

“Although we’ve seen a small decline in case rates, and we are relaxing some measures, I want to stress the situation remains serious,” said Hinshaw. 

“Our numbers remain high, and our health system is still under significant strain. Over the coming weeks we must remain diligent in our efforts to bring these numbers down even further.” 

In making the announcement on Thursday, January 14, Hinshaw said 806 people were in hospital with COVID, including 136 people in intensive care. In the previous 24 hours, 21 people had died. 

In the Edmonton Zone, there were 4,570 active cases of COVID, including 1,984 reported in the last week. 

Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, on Thursday, January 14, 2021.