KENNEY MUST TEST, TRACE, ISOLATE TO PROTECT CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP is demanding that Jason Kenney and the UCP government test, trace, and isolate COVID cases to keep Alberta small businesses open.
On August 16, the UCP will stop all testing outside of hospitals for COVID-19, stop contact tracing of the virus and stop requiring infected Albertans to isolate. This decision will harm Alberta’s economic recovery and harm Alberta small businesses.
“The Jason Kenney approach of hiding the numbers from Albertans will not work. Cases are rising, more than 500 new cases reported yesterday for the first time since May,” said Deron Bilous, NDP Critic for Economic Development & Innovation. “Hiding the truth from Albertans will harm consumer confidence. This will lead to less money spent in Alberta small businesses.”
Over the last year and a half, low consumer confidence caused by the spread of COVID-19 has hurt small businesses. This has been verified by the UCP government’s own independent report that stated “despite keeping its economy ‘more open’ during the first wave, Alberta’s consumer spending and its economic decline still followed a similar trajectory to other Canadian provinces. Alberta’s softer business restrictions did not stop declines in consumer spending.”
Bilous is calling on the UCP to develop a new strategy that will increase consumer confidence and allow small businesses to stay open.
“It is clear that the UCP government is not learning from their own mistakes. Jason Kenney and the UCP need to release a new plan that will keep businesses open by showing Albertans that COVID-19 is contained and under control. This includes having trace, test, and isolate as its foundation as we work towards increasing our vaccination rate.”
The Kenney government has a long record of ignoring the issues facing small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The government dragged their feet to provide support and struggled to get the money out the door. Many businesses are still waiting for funding that was announced back in March. Alberta small businesses report carrying debt far higher than the national average.
“Kenney cannot turn his back on Alberta small businesses now by recklessly destroying our testing, tracing, and isolating systems. He cannot ignore COVID-19 because it’s clear that consumers will not.”