Banff, Fort McMurray await details before deciding on COVID-19 curfews

COVID-19 hot spots in a Rocky Mountain tourist town and northeastern Alberta’s oilsands hub want more details from the provincial government before deciding to request curfews.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday that curfews could be imposed in municipalities where the virus case rate exceeds 1,000 per 100,000 people and if the local governments ask for one.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, has a rate of 1,537 — Alberta’s highest.

The municipality said in a statement Friday that it has not requested a curfew at this time.

“We are in the process of reviewing the newly announced restrictions, evaluating options, and awaiting further details from the Government of Alberta,” it said.

The Town of Banff, with a case rate of 1,115, said it’s seeking clarification from the province and evaluating whether a curfew would be useful.

The County of Barrhead, a sparsely populated rural municipality northwest of Edmonton, is not contemplating a curfew, said Reeve Douglas Drozd. Its case rate is 1,022.

Drozd said it’s a busy time of year with farmers beginning to seed their fields and haul cattle out to pasture.

“Not the time to get in the way,” he said in an email.

Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services said Friday it will be offering some COVID-19 immunization clinics at work camps and sites in Wood Buffalo.

Spokesperson Kerry Williamson said vaccines will be given in partnership with industry as supply and capacity allows.

Shots will begin at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Horizon mine as early as this weekend and staff can book appointments by calling 811.

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