The provincial government has announced new measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

According to Premier Jason Kenney, Omicron accounted for 1 per cent of the province's COVID cases between Dec. 3-9 and now represents over 50 percent, making it Alberta's dominant strain.

The following measures take effect on Christmas Eve:

-Restaurants participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) are limited to 10 people per table, and recreational activities like dancing and billiards are prohibited. These establishments must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m., and must close by 12:30 a.m.

  • Large venues that seat more than 1000 people are now limited to 50 percent capacity.
  • Venues that hold between 500 and 1000 people have a 500-person cap.
  • No food or drink consumption will be permitted in audience settings for those venues, and venues with a capacity of under 500 will not be impacted.

The province is also taking measures to prevent the spread of Omicron, identify cases faster, and prepare Alberta's hospitals for a potential fifth wave.

Earlier today, the province announced expanded eligibility for booster doses, with all Albertans age 18 and over now able to book their third shot. They also decreased the amount of time between second and third doses, which is now just five months.

AHS currently has 228 ICU beds, and steps are being taken to increase to 380.

December 21st new case numbers:

  • 786 new cases of the virus for December 20th
  • 6,045 active cases in Alberta
  • 329 people are hospitalized
  • 69 people admitted to ICUs
  • 3,294 total deaths from the virus

Active case numbers in the Central Alberta area:

  • 19 active cases in the City of Lacombe
  • 21 active cases in the County of Lacombe
  • 100 active cases in the City of Red Deer
  • 21 active cases in the County of Red Deer
  • 15 active cases in the County of Ponoka
  • 6 active cases in the Town of Sylvan Lake
  • 96 active cases in the County of Stettler

**Not all cases in the Central Zone have been included.