A beautiful, hot week is about to move into a gorgeous Heritage Day long weekend, and many Albertans are looking forward to spending the extra day enjoying our cities and province. It’s a lot different than usual this year, however, as we’re planning our meals and activities along with our COVID-19 cohort group, and packing face masks and hand sanitizer along with band-aids and mosquito repellant.
As of Aug. 1, masks are now mandatory in Calgary in all public areas. In Edmonton, masks are mandatory in city-owned and operated amenities, attractions and services, including public transit. Masks are not required when they would prevent receiving a service, such as at a restaurant or the dentist. Children under two do not need to wear a mask, as well as those with disabilities or conditions inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering, or who can’t put one on without assistance.
Remembering to don your mask is one thing, but wearing it safely is another.
- Wash your hands before putting it on, before taking it off and after taking it off
- Tighten the mask close to your face using the ties or ear loops
- Keep your nose, mouth, and chin covered at all times
- Throw disposable masks out right away, keep reusable masks in a sealed plastic bag until they can be washed
- Once you put it on, don’t touch it or your face
- Never share masks
Wherever you go, ensure to practice caution at all times and adhere to these general guidelines in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Practice physical distancing
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often
- Use a mask in public areas
- Be extremely cautious and avoid any additional risk
- Stay with your cohort group
Free masks continue to be available at A&W, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons restaurant locations, while supplies last.
The current gathering restrictions in Alberta are:
- 50 people maximum for indoor gatherings and events where people move around (weddings, funerals, birthday parties)
- 100 people maximum for outdoor events where people move around and indoor events where people remain seated
- 200 people maximum for audience-style outdoor events (performances, sports events, fireworks)
If you are feeling ill, stay home and call 811.
What is a Cohort Groups?
The definition of cohort groups (also known as bubbles, circles, or safe squads) has been slightly expanded lately. Cohort groups should consist of:
- Core cohorts of families or households of up 15 people
- Child care programs of up to 30 children and staff
- Up to 50 people total for sports team and coaches
- Up to 50 cast members an performers for performance groups
Before You Leave Your Home
Since you have planned the weekend around safety, include your home in your cautionary plans. Even if you are only leaving for a short while, take these few steps to protect your home and also allow for true peace of mind while you are away.
- Ask someone to come and check your property. The particulars of your home insurance policy depend upon the provider, but, leaving a property unchecked for more than three days nullifies many coverages. Have a competent person visit or enter your property on a regular basis during your absence to make sure nothing is amiss and to ensure you are able to prove proper care and maintenance to your insurance company.
- Turn off the water. If you plan on being away from your home for more than 24 hours, the first thing you should do is turn off the main water supply before you lock up. Water damage is one of the most common and most destructive home insurance claims. In addition, failure to turn off your water could end up invalidating your home insurance.
Every homeowner should know where his or her main water valve is located. Most often it is in the basement and can be turned off by turning the wheel to the right (clockwise) or by turning the lever perpendicular to the pipe.
- Switch your water heater to “vacation mode.” Many people don’t even realize this is an option, but many water heaters have a “vacation mode” specifically for when people go away. If your water heater doesn’t have a “vacation mode,” just turn it down a few degrees. This can also save you a little money on your energy bill.
- Check your refrigerator. If you are to be gone for less than 10 days, emptying and turning off your refrigerator is probably not worth it. You will want to get rid of any perishables that will spoil or rot while you are away, however. Nothing is worse than returning to a stinky fridge. Leaving a refrigerator empty and running is not a good idea, even at its lowest settings, so if you have a lot of empty space, fill it with water and ice in carefully sealed containers. Also remember to turn off your icemaker.
Keep Thieves Away
Keep burglars away from your property by using motion detectors and timers. Motion detectors are a great way to surprise unwanted guests on your property. Place them high and out of reach so they can’t be disabled.
Also place several interior lamps on randomly patterned timers so that if anyone is watching, they will not be able to detect a pattern. There are also devices that simulate the flickering of a television set. These are definitely handy for making it seem like someone is home and comfortably watching their favourite show.
We also highly recommend home security systems, not only for the protection of your property but also because they can help you access lower home insurance premiums. There are a number of different types available now, and they are becoming more and more affordable. Many also can be hooked up to your lights and thermometer to be controlled remotely as well.
And even though it is tempting, don’t post your plans on social media. It seems like it should be “safe” to let your friends know that you and your family are headed to your favourite campground for the weekend (after all, you are careful about your privacy settings). But, you don’t know about your friends’ sharing policies online (are all of their posts public?), and you also don’t know about “friends” they may have that are specifically watching for someone to admit they won’t be in their homes for a few days. Similarly, even if you are just at a party or get-together, it’s still not wise to point out your absence. Wait until you are back home to post pics of the fun you were having.
Lane’s Insurance Covers Alberta
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, offering a comprehensive range of competitively priced insurance packages. You can trust Lane’s for everything from auto insurance to travel insurance, and our experienced representatives always provide excellent service and outstanding claims support.
Lane’s Insurance is pleased to serve homeowners and residents throughout Alberta. Use the following regional links to contact us at:
- Our Calgary office
- Our Edmonton office
- Our Banff office
- Serving the rest of Alberta