Alberta is loosening COVID-19 restrictions on shopping, kids sports and performances, wedding ceremonies, banquet halls, and more.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Monday that the province is completing its transition into Step 2. Alberta moved into Step 2 on March 1, but only loosened some restrictions associated with that step.
At the time, Shandro cited a slight uptick in case counts and positivity as his rationale for hesitating. But now, he’s confident to proceed.
“The situation is changing and we need to change along with it,” he said, as the province announced 278 new cases with a positivity rate of 5.4%, higher than what it was on March 1 at the partial transition to Step 2.
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What restrictions are easing?
Starting Monday, retail stores and shopping malls can increase the number of shoppers allowed in side to 25% of fire code occupancy (the limit was 15% before).
Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres, and hotels can also begin hosting a limited number of activities again. They can hold wedding ceremonies (maximum 10 people) and funerals (maximum 20 people). But receptions are still forbidden.
They can now host certain performances or other activities as long as all other restrictions are obeyed.
Artists are now allowed to rehearse and perform in preparation for a livestreamed show or event. Adult performers are limited to groups of 10. Masks must be worn at all times and participants must stay three metres away from each other. Live audiences are forbidden.
“This will allow projects like filming movies or TV shows to occur provided they implement proven steps to stop transmission,” Shandro said.
The restrictions eased around children and youth sports on March 1 will now be extended to college and university athletics. Lessons, practices, physical conditioning activities are allowed again.
Practices will be limited to 10 people and masks must be worn in between all activities. There will be no games or spectators allowed.
Alberta health officials will discuss a move into Step 3 no earlier than March 22, Shandro said.