Alberta officials have announced the province’s reopening plan, with a number of public health restrictions easing up as early as June 1.
During a Wednesday morning press conference, Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, and Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer provided an update on COVID-19 and Alberta’s strategy for safely lifting restrictions.
The province will be putting a three-stage reopening plan into place across Alberta, with the first change happening on May 28. The “Open for Summer” plan will use a combination of hospitalization and vaccination benchmarks to move into each stage.
“This is the day we have all waited for,” said Premier Kenney. “We now have a clear plan to lift all public health restrictions and get back to normal. So long as Albertans continue to get vaccinated in strong numbers, Alberta will be fully open and back to normal for a truly great Alberta summer.”
Here’s which restrictions are lifting under Stage 1, beginning June 1.
- Restaurants can reopen for outdoor patio dining, for up to four people of the same household (or two close contacts, for those who live alone)
- Personal and wellness services can reopen, by appointment only
- Funerals are permitted to have up to 20 attendees
- Up to 10 people are allowed at indoor weddings and at outdoor social gatherings
- Outdoor physical, performance, and recreation activities are permitted for all ages, in groups of up to 10 people
- Outdoor youth sports, performance, and recreation training are permitted in distanced groups of up to 10 people
Also under Stage 1, beginning on May 28, capacity limits for worship services will increase to 15% of fire code occupancy.
Under Stage 2, which is projected to begin in mid-June, here’s which restrictions are lifting.
- Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person classes
- Indoor settings can open at 30% capacity, including libraries, museums, galleries, arenas, cinemas, theatres, and indoor recreation centres
- Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services
- Restaurants are permitted to seat tables of up to six people, indoors or outdoors
- Capacity for places of worship and retail increases to one-third of fire code occupancy
- Outdoor social gatherings and indoor and outdoor weddings and funerals are permitted to have up to 20 people, with physical distancing
- Gyms and indoor fitness facilities can open for solo and drop-in activities, and fitness classes may resume, with physical distancing
- Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports can resume, with no restrictions
- The work from home order is lifted (with working from home still recommended when possible)
- Youth activities, such as day camps and play centres, may resume, with restrictions
It’s important to note that, in Stages 1 and 2, masking and physical distancing requirements are still in effect. Additionally, indoor social gatherings won’t be permitted until Stage 3 of the Open for Summer plan.
The province will move into Stage 1 two weeks after 50% of eligible Albertans aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining. Stage 2 will begin two weeks after 60% of eligible Albertans aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.
Alberta will move into Stage 3 two weeks after 70% of eligible Albertans aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Since the province reached the 50% threshold for one-dose vaccination on May 18, and with hospitalizations well below 800, Alberta will enter Stage 1 on June 1.
“Based on the current pace of vaccinations, Alberta is projected to enter Stage 2 in mid-June and Stage 3 in late June or early July,” reads a press release from the Government of Alberta.
The Alberta government notes that this timeline is an estimate only, and the reopening plan relies on all Albertans continuing to drive down hospitalizations while increasing vaccination numbers.