Health care workers implore Albertans to stay home this weekend and mask up if they must go out

PLEASE READ: A recent video from an event at the Alberta Legislature circulating on social media does not reflect the views of United Nurses of Alberta. UNA takes the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and is deeply troubled by the surge in cases.
UNA continues to call for the provincial government to implement province-wide mandatory mask rules and take further measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.


For immediate release: Friday, December 4, 2020

As we move into another weekend without adequate measures taken by our provincial government to control the spread of COVID-19 infections, health care workers implore their fellow Albertans to remain at home if they can and to wear masks at all times they must go out in public.

With Alberta’s COVID-19 infection rates now the highest in Canada and rising rapidly, Alberta Health Services appears to be implementing the first phase of its pandemic response staffing plan.

“Our members and other health care workers are fearful for their patients and deeply worried about their own safety,” said UNA President Heather Smith. “We cannot get the coronavirus under control if Albertans won’t take the measures that are necessary to suppress it in the absence of effective action by the government.”

“Please don’t go out this weekend,” she said. “Think of yourself, your family and neighbours, and the ability of your health care workers to care for Albertans who are already sick with COVID-19 as staffing shortages grow more severe.”

“Our members are terrified of the scenarios that could unfold if Albertans don’t take this seriously and act appropriately,” Smith said. “It’s time for the government to step in and take meaningful action.”

Mike Parker, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, called on the provincial government to implement and enforce province-wide mandatory masking rules and a significant level of lockdown while there is still time to slow the spread of the virus.

“Since our leaders aren’t enforcing their own rules, it’s up to Albertans to take care of ourselves,” Parker said. “In our rush to reopen early, we have put our own friends, families and neighbours at risk.”

Parker noted that only those places where strong restrictions were made and enforced were they able to get the pandemic under control. 

“That’s why we urgently call on the government to act quickly with mandatory measures, including a requirement for masks to be worn at all times in public,” Parker said.

“AUPE members are on the frontlines of the pandemic, working to keep the public safe,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith. “But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone to get on board with respecting public health measures.”

“It’s clear that the UCP is not doing what is necessary to protect Albertans from the pandemic,” Smith said. “So it’s up to us to keep one another safe. We need to take this seriously.”

“We continue to call for the government of Alberta to adopt strong measures that will bring COVID numbers down to zero,” Smith says. “The choice isn’t between public health and the economy — we don’t have an economy without a health care system and healthy workers. It’s time to act.”