MLA Peter Guthrie says leading up to Tuesday's announcement of further mandatory provincewide COVID-19 measures, constituents he spoke with were split about 50-50 on the question.

In the end, there was no choice.

"It's a really tough balancing act, but ultimately it boiled down to the health care system," says Guthrie.

"We've had a 600 per cent increase in hospitalization in a matter of five weeks. So when you look at the trajectory in where we're going, the government needed to act, because by the end of January we could be getting ourselves into a real bind."

"You certainly keep the economy in mind, keep the well-being of everyone in mind. These decisions are not made lightly, I'll tell you that."

He says the province's 16 biggest hospitals are running full out and continued increases in COVID-19 cases add that much more pressure, not just in the capacity of the system but also its functional capacity in staffing.

"We have ramped up staffing since the spring but the staff is also going through similar issues where perhaps there are COVID exposures that they need to isolate from, so that's added pressure to the system."

He's heard Premier Jason Kenney speak at caucus meetings.

"This is just eating him up to be having to put restrictions on the province, and the people of this province," says Guthrie. "It goes against the fundamentals of everything that he's been fighting for throughout his political career. It's really difficult for him, and cabinet ministers, as well as all of us in the Province of Alberta."

Expanded measures go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13 that will be in effect for at least four weeks. It will further change the way we shop, worship, and spend our leisure time. You'll find a recap of the measures below, as outlined by the province.

Here's a recap of what closures and gathering restrictions the province has put in place, effective 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Places of worship

  • All places of worship will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance.
    • Virtual or online services are strongly encouraged.
    • Drive-in services where individuals do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance will be permissible and are not subject to capacity restrictions.
    • Mandatory mask mandate, physical distancing, and other guidelines remain in place.


  • Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, with a minimum of five customers permitted.
    • Curbside pickup, delivery, and online services are encouraged.
  • Shopping malls will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy.  


  • Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, and cafes will be closed to in-person service.
    • Only takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.
  • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions, and private clubs will be closed.
  • Recreational facilities – fitness centres, recreation centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios, day and overnight camps, indoor rinks, and arenas – will be closed.
  • Outdoor recreation is permitted, but facilities with indoor spaces except for washrooms will be closed.
  • Entertainment businesses and entities – libraries, science centres, interpretive centres, museums, galleries, amusement parks, and water parks – will be closed.
  • Hotels may remain open but must follow restrictions – no spas, pools, or in-person dining. Room services only.
  • Personal and wellness services, including hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing will be closed.

Health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens will remain open for in-person attendance.