Cabinet committee scheduled to discuss easing Alberta's COVID-19 restrictions

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney leads a

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in the County of Grande Prairie has dropped below 50.

"Jason Kenney must put the safety of Albertans first and focus on containing the spread of these unsafe new variants", said Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley.

"This is the safe move".

On Monday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the province made the decision not to move forward yet as the province sees and upward trend in hospitalizations.

"This is not the direction we want to be heading in as a province", Shandro said.

It would also allow private indoor social gatherings, with restrictions.

Daily COVID-19 infections were below 300 in recent weeks but have been ticking up steadily and have been well above 400 for nearly the last week.

"There will be no easing of any restrictions at this time", he said.

Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party government have been under increasing pressure from businesses, their supporters and even some UCP MLAs to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

"This is devastating news to the more than 1,000 Albertans who make up our workforce across our 19 theatres in the province, all of whom are presently out of work".

Kenney has faced demands, including from members of his own caucus, to ease up on the rules.

Mr. Shandro acknowledged that anger.

Alberta is just emerging from a second round of health restrictions it implemented in mid-December. And three weeks ago, the Premier said experts who warned that the variants would soon become dominant were wrong as he said the province had successfully contained them.

Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 during Monday's briefing. "It's hard to say when exactly that might happen". Earlier in the day, a group of doctors called Go4Zero called for lockdown to bring infections under control.

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