Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday that the province is lifting more public health restrictions and moving into Phase 2 of its pandemic response plan.
Restrictions on indoor fitness and libraries will lift starting Monday, Kenney said at a news conference.
“Please know that we’re watching the spread of this virus very closely. By moving to Step 2 we’re protecting both lives and livelihoods,” Kenney said.
Libraries will be allowed to reopen and welcome up to 15% of their fire code capacity at a time, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
Some low-impact indoor fitness activities will also be allowed again starting Monday. Examples include tai chi, indoor climbing, and pilates. Guests will need to wear masks during their workout, Shandro said.
Alberta is not going to change restrictions around retail stores, banquet halls, hotels, or conference centres. Officials explained they’re delaying lifting restrictions there because there’s been a small uptick in the positivity rate and daily number of variant cases.
The decision to lift those restrictions could come before Step 3 if the numbers go in an encouraging direction, Kenney said.
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Alberta set a benchmark of 450 hospitalizations to move into Step 2 several weeks ago, and right now there are 257 patients in hospital — about 250 below the threshold.
Alberta officials have said they’ll wait at least three weeks between moving down steps to see if loosening restrictions leads to more infections.