EDMONTON — The Alberta government has announced that landlords will not be able to evict anyone for not paying their rent until at least the end of April, as the province deals with the economic fallout of COVID-19.
Premier Jason Kenney said Friday that landlords will also not be allowed to hike rents while a state of public emergency remains in effect.
In addition, the province is forcing non-essential business, such as salons, dine-in restaurants, clothing stores and furniture stores to close.
"The actions we are taking are tough but necessary to protect public health," Kenney told a news conference.
"We understand that behind every such decision lies tens of thousands of jobs and businesses that will throw people into economic and financial anxiety."
The maximum size of gatherings is also being reduced to 15 from 50, and vehicles will no longer be allowed into provincial parks.
The province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the decision to impose more aggressive measures was not made lightly.
"We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep people healthy," she said. "I strongly encourage all Albertans to stay close to home as we are all in this together. Our collective action will protect our family, friends and neighbours."
Alberta reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 542.
Hinshaw said two of the new cases are at the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary, which now has a total of 15 cases. One resident at the centre died earlier this week.
Twenty-three patients are in hospital, and 10 of those are in intensive care.
Hinshaw said 33 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have since recovered.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2020
The Canadian Press