UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)

UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)

MLA Ron Orr: Benchmarks were achieved but goalposts were moved

Orr responds to concerns, calls on province to fully open Step 2

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr is calling on the Government of Alberta for a more regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions after receiving feedback from constituents about the scaled-back start of Step 2 on March 1.

“On behalf of Albertans across this province, I wish to make my voice heard to those who have clearly spoken out in regards to the direction set yesterday,” said Orr in a statement released March 2.

“The easing of restrictions … did not meet the expectations of Albertans, based on the goalposts that had been previously communicated,” he said.

“Benchmarks that were clearly laid out previously were achieved — the goalposts were moved.”

As of March 1, there were 257 admissions to hospital or ICU for COVID-19, far below the 450 threshold set for proceeding to Step 2 of the reopening plan.

With the announcement, some low-intensity individual and group fitness activities such as yoga are now permitted, and libraries are able to open at 15 per cent capacity, but restrictions for retail, hotels, community and banquet halls and conference centres remained unchanged.

READ MORE: Province further easing health restrictions

The reason given for the only partial easing of restrictions was the recent small rise in active cases in the province and the testing positivity rate.

Orr says he will be pushing for the government to consider restrictions from a more regional approach and to fully open Step 2.

“We are representing Albertans to our Caucus colleagues, and are taking these latest concerns back to the government, in order to strengthen the voices we are hearing,”said Orr.

“All drivers of economic health, mental health, spiritual health, and well-being continue to be placed in jeopardy, as clearly indicated from feedback by so many of you.

“We will continue to ask our caucus colleagues to look at a more regional approach, with a focus on safe practices that allow for an increased easing of restrictions, while always considering the best ways to protect those most vulnerable.

“We support the founding principles of our party and we will continue to represent our constituents concerns regarding the COVID interventions.

“In closing, we are asking the government to honour its previously anticipated plan and fully open stage 2.”

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