The impact of new public health measures on UFCW Local 401 members

Dear Local 401 members,

This afternoon, citing unrelenting spikes in positive COVID-19 cases and deaths in Alberta, the provincial government announced a series of new, mandatory public health measures, many of which will be in place immediately and for a minimum of four weeks. These new measures will have an impact on most of our workplaces, and so it is important to be aware of them.

We are taking action

We will be in touch with all the employers we deal with to discuss the specific impacts these restrictions may have on our members’ workplaces. Some immediate measures we will be seeking will include:

  • Prioritizing the health and safety of our members who continue to work, providing key services to the public
  • The immediate reinstatement of pandemic pay premiums (a campaign we will not only continue but will intensify)
  • Protections against cuts to our members hours as they continue to provide exceptional service to the public
  • Ensuring employers properly apply and enforce these new public health measures in all worksites

There is extensive media coverage on the new restrictions coming out as we write this. We also refer members to the Government of Alberta website, where further information on the restrictions has been posted.

We are continuing to advocate for our members throughout the pandemic, and further, up-to-date information, including health and financial support, for UFCW Local 401 members will remain available on our website. Our Union Labour Relations Officers are also available to support members in their questions and workplace concerns.

Focussing on our members’ workplaces, we summarize some of the government’s new restrictions below.

Immediate Measures

The government announcement includes outlining new mandatory rules prohibiting public and private social gatherings and restricting close contacts to household members only, for example. There is also mandatory indoor public masking across most of Alberta (farm operations and certain rental accommodations are excluded). These measures are effective immediately.

Starting 12:01 am, December 13

Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 percent of fire code occupancy, with a minimum of five customers permitted. Curbside pickup, delivery, and online services are encouraged.

Shopping malls will be limited to 15 percent of fire code occupancy.  

Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, and cafes will be closed to in-person service.

Casinos will be closed, as will recreational facilities, including fitness centres, gyms, arenas, and more.

Hotels may remain open, but they must follow certain restrictions (i.e. no spas, pools, or in-person dining. Room services only.)

There are new mandatory work from home measures that will be implemented “unless the employer determines that word requires a physical presence for operational effectiveness.”

Closures in place from the November 27 measures will continue to affect banquet and conference centres.