Image via @NatalkaL
Just before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 30, hundreds of thousands of Albertans received emergency alert messages via Canada’s wireless emergency alert network that simply informed them of the latest COVID-19 restrictions in the province.
According to CTV News and many who reached out to the news platform, the emergency alert only served to spread fear and perplex residents of the province.
“I read the message and instantly I was just livid because my kids were upset and I had to tell them it was the exact same thing we’ve been hearing for the past 13 months”, said Alberta resident Karine Betts.
“Those alerts are meant to get people’s immediate attention like in the case of a child abduction or loose gunman or something like that”, she added. Another Albertan revealed that she thought the message was an Amber Alert at first and became fearful for whatever child was in danger.
Betts believes that sending out the same information Albertans are bombarded with out on the streets, when they go online, and if they tune in to the news in an emergency alert was a “gross misuse” of the wireless broadcast system.
After all, emergency alerts are meant to shake people awake and get them to take action. There’s not much active ‘rallying’ to be done against a pandemic that has been on the loose for over a year now.
The Emergency Alert almost killed me in the shower…so close to slipping when this rang while listening to Spotify w/my iPhone on a docking port speaker🤦🏼♀️
Come on Alberta! We can do better then this! pic.twitter.com/Wh37TA0KiM
— NatalkaLindstrom (@NatalkaL) April 30, 2021
In a statement to the press, the UCP government stood by its decision to send out Alberta’s first emergency alert since the start of the pandemic, asserting that informing people is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“With Alberta seeing the highest level of active cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and new restrictions for localized areas, it was prudent to ensure all Albertans are aware of the health measures in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19”, reads a statement from Jerrica Goodwin, press secretary to Premier Jason Kenney.
Emergency alerts may as well have been essential back when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but it has been over a year since then. Alberta isn’t the only province to send out an emergency alert this far into the pandemic — Quebec and Ontario have sent out similar alerts in recent months.
Earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney said a hard lockdown could have to be imposed in Alberta if people don’t respond to the government’s call for preventative measures.