While the province of Alberta may be in a different situation than many other Canadian provinces when it comes to COVID-19 health guidelines, there are still many important rules to follow here.
But what do you need to do when you spot someone who isn’t following all guidelines in place to stop the spread of COVID-19?
The province says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, has spoken about the importance of Albertans following all public health advice throughout the pandemic.
Most recently, she said it was up to Albertans to make sure COVID-19 cases are kept low so the health-care system can maintain service.
“I continue to urge Albertan to help us reduce demand on our ICUs and on our hospitals by following all measures in place,” she said during Friday’s update.
Despite the consistent reminders of best practices, there have been multiple occasions where Albertans have refused to follow all the proper health guidelines.
One such situation occurred last week at an Edmonton-area Costco where a man refused to abide by store regulations to wear a face covering.
Police officers soon became involved in the incident and arrested the man for trespassing.
Another incident, earlier this year, involved a video of a verbal confrontation inside a Calgary Fabricland store being posted online.
In it, a woman who was not wearing a mask called staff and other customers “sheep” and claimed no one was actually sick from COVID-19.
Alberta Health advises when you witness anyone not following proper health guidelines in a public place, it is “often unproductive” to confront them with the situation.
“Instead, it is often better to change your own action and take whatever steps you feel are needed to remove or distance yourself from the situation,” the province wrote in a statement.
“We would not encourage any Albertan to unintentionally put their own health and safety at risk in an attempt to correct someone else’s behaviour.”
Meanwhile, others such as a business owners or employees can adopt a cautious approach, Alberta Health suggests.
“If you are responsible for a business or activity where a certain behaviour is required, such as wearing a mask in a store, seeking to understand the reason why someone isn’t wearing a mask is a good first step, such as asking, ‘Do you have a medical condition that means you can’t wear a mask?'”
Once that has been determined, many businesses possess their own alternative guidelines customers can follow.
When it comes to enforcing Alberta’s Public Health Orders, officials say only law enforcement agencies such as the Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service or RCMP have that authority.
Albertans do have an important role in situations that occur between friends and family, the province says.
“In situations when the individual is known, and not following measures, a conversational approach would be recommended. This can help individuals understand each other’s motivations and open the way for people to encourage others to change their behaviours in a non-threatening way.”
Hinshaw, along with announcing more than 1,000 new cases in her last live update, set out the goal of following all of Alberta’s guidelines quite clearly.
“Every time COVID spreads, it is a threat to our health, the health of others, and our health-care system. Every spreading event jeopardizes businesses and activities that could potentially face more intrusive measures than those we introduced last week.
“I encourage everyone to abide by all public health measures. Even if you don’t like them, even if they’re inconvenient, or even if you don’t agree with them. We must all do our part to bend the curve.”