As an emergency alert sounded across the province informing Albertans of yet another round of public health restrictions, some felt a range of emotions: anger, confusion, exhaustion.
Edmonton mother Amanah Khursheed remembers looking at her husband.
“Here we go again,” she said as her phone turned on Wednesday night.
The notification told him that Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency to protect the health care system.
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New restrictions – including collection limits and a proof of vaccination program for non-essential businesses – began Thursday, as Alberta’s healthcare system is set to collapse in a fourth pandemic wave.
“Every few months we go into lockdown and we hear false promises from our leaders,” Khursheed said in an interview.
“The whole pandemic… I don’t think it was handled well from the start. “
Medical experts had warned the United Conservative government of the potential for the Delta variant to spread exponentially, when Prime Minister Jason Kenney celebrated his “Open For Summer” plan.
Since reopening on July 1, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have more than quintupled, with intensive care admissions reaching record levels.
Khursheed said a close friend contracted COVID-19 and was put on a ventilator.
“It’s nerve-racking every day when you send your kids to school and then hear that a close friend is in (intensive care). “
Calgarian Jake Hughes, a 28-year-old business development representative, said he was “exhausted and demoralized” after 19 months of poor provincial leadership.
He thought about leaving Alberta for another province.
“It’s a little sad that we are – I wouldn’t say the laughing stock, but look how badly Alberta is compared to the rest of the country,” said Hughes. “It feels like everyone prioritizes business and money over people’s lives.”
Although he supports the new restrictions, Hughes said he was concerned they would affect his job stability and income, given he works with many small businesses.
“If we kept the restrictions in the summer, where minimal interactions were allowed, we probably could have gotten through this fourth wave with a lot fewer peaks,” said Hughes. “Since the start of this pandemic, it’s escaped after escaped.”
Retiree Desmond Clark of Calgary said the range of measures announced Wednesday was confusing. And Alberta’s version of a vaccine passport system, which Kenney calls a “restriction exemption program,” is fraught with contradictions.
He said it should be simple: you prove that you are vaccinated, or you are not allowed in. Instead, there are various restrictions depending on an individual’s immunization status.
Clark said he had lost all respect for Kenney’s United Conservative government.
“When it comes to leadership, I’ve always been of the opinion that even if I don’t agree with something, I can respect the fact that something is being done,” he said. -he declares.
“But when they don’t seem sure what to do, you can’t think of a lot of them.”
Edmonton’s grandmother Sharon Morin said the reintroduction of the restrictions was no surprise, but disappointing nonetheless.
“We didn’t take advantage of the Open For Summer. We stay close to home. We don’t go out to restaurants. We are still masking ourselves. So it’s really frustrating to be put in this position because of others, ”said Morin, noting unvaccinated Albertans and the lack of provincial leadership.
She said Kenney must take responsibility for the mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis and step down.
“There has been no leadership here,” she said.
With files from Fakiha Baig in Edmonton.
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