by Stephen Dafoe
It will now be a little easier for Albertans to exercise both mind and body. Alberta is moving to Step 2 of its four-step framework effective Mar. 1 easing restrictions on indoor fitness facilities and libraries. Changes to current restrictions for retail, children’s sports, and hotels, banquets, community halls and conference centres have been delayed until Step 3 as a precautionary measure.
Current Alberta hospitalizations sit at 257 with 48 in ICU as of Monday’s data. As of Monday, Morinville had no new cases, no more recoveries, for a total of 7 active cases. Sturgeon County had no new cases, no more recoveries, for a total of 3 active cases.
“We are taking a cautious approach, recognizing that active cases and hospitalizations have declined, but the threat of COVID-19 remains real,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “Thanks to the hard work of Albertans over the past few weeks, we’re taking this safe step forward. Albertans have proven their ability to make a difference, so let’s continue in our efforts to keep cases dropping so more restrictions can be eased over time, just as Alberta’s government will continue applying pressure on Ottawa to catch up on vaccine supply.”
Below are the changes taking effect Mar. 1.
Step 2: Hospitalization benchmark – 450 and declining
- These facilities can now open but must limit capacity to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, not including staff.
Indoor fitness (no change to outdoor fitness):
- Unsupervised low-intensity individual and group exercises are now allowed by appointment only.
- Mandatory physical distance of three metres is required between participants, including coaches and trainers, at all times, and masks must be worn at all times by trainers and those participating in low-intensity activities.
- All indoor fitness must be pre-registered – no drop-ins allowed.
- Low-intensity exercises include weightlifting, low-intensity dance classes, yoga, barre and indoor climbing, as well as the low-intensity use of treadmills, ellipticals and related equipment.
- High-intensity activities, including running, spin and high-intensity interval training, continue to be allowed only on a one-on-one with a trainer basis or training with a household and one trainer.
A decision on moving to Step 3 will happen after at least three weeks have passed and further evaluation is done. Step three was originally targeted at hospital numbers below 300. As of Monday, Alberta hospitalizations totalled 257.
Further details on mandatory province-wide restrictions can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx