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'Not there yet': Sohi says Edmonton may bring in COVID-19 restrictions if Kenney drops Alberta's

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Edmonton's mayor pleaded with the province Thursday not to relax COVID-19 restrictions, saying it's "too soon and too fast."

On Wednesday, a UCP statement said that vaccine mandate rules could be lifted "likely within days," but further details were not provided.

"I get the frustration out there, but the end of COVID-restrictions is near," Premier Jason Kenney wrote on Twitter in a post that also said he is "sick and tired of COVID restrictions."

Amarjeet Sohi urged the premier to reconsider and said Edmonton may bring in municipal rules if provincial restrictions are relaxed or removed.

"We are all looking forward to the day that this pandemic is behind us, but we are not there yet," Sohi told reporters.

"I say this to urge our provincial government to reconsider lifting restrictions too soon and too fast, and I urge them to continue to rely on science and evidence and continue to listen to experts before lifting restrictions."

Alberta reported 1,598 people in hospital with the virus on Wednesday, the second-highest total throughout the pandemic.

The number of confirmed Omicron cases in Edmonton appeared to be falling since mid-January, but limits to testing capacity and eligibility mean the actual number of new and active COVID-19 infections is not exactly known.

"The COVID-19 virus is showing that it is not finished with us yet, with the rising spread of Omicron variant throughout the province," Sohi said.

He didn't say exactly what the city restrictions would be but he mentioned continuing vaccine mandates at city-owned facilities like rec centres.

"I certainly hope that we don't have to implement our own measures, but we will explore options that are within our authority if we have to," Sohi said.

The mayor was asked if Alberta will maintain its QR proof-of-vaccination program for the city to keep using, but he said he didn't know.

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