EDMONTON -- In just over five weeks, Alberta businesses will no longer be able to purchase personal protective equipment from the province.

The province's top doctor announced Monday that starting July 1, businesses and non-Alberta Health Services organizations will be required to access PPE, including masks, directly through suppliers.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says the province is focusing the supply of critical PPE to organizations at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 like hospitals, emergency services, and long term care facilities.  

“Now the government needs to step up and look at other ways to help with the cost," says Annie Dormuth, Director of Provincial Affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The CFIB says there is growing concern among its thousands of members of soon having to find and purchase its own PPE, especially with more small and medium-sized businesses opening up in the weeks ahead.

“Over half of Alberta small businesses have said that paying for the required PPE to reopen their business is going to be a significant cost challenge,” added Dormuth. “A lot of small businesses were closed for multiple months and they still have to make their rent and fixed cost payments.”

The CFIB also points out how decreased revenues, especially those in the restaurant industry that are only able to operate at 50 per cent capacity, which equates to 50 per cent of their revenues, makes the challenge even more considerable.

According to the Alberta government, the PPE supply chain is improving with more companies now developing it, giving businesses more options to source their own.

For more information, visit the Alberta Emergency Management Agency website.