Province loosens more restrictions with Step 2 changes

by Stephen Dafoe

Loosened restrictions for retail, hotels, community halls, and performance groups took immediate effect in Alberta after the province’s daily update on Monday, adding to measures announced Mar. 1.

“Every day, we administer more vaccines and every day fewer Albertans are in hospital due to this virus,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a media release Monday. “With cases stable and more vaccines arriving, it’s time to take another safe step forward. Our government is listening to the evidence and protecting both lives and livelihoods across the province.”

Although indoor masking and distancing requirements will remain in place throughout Step 2, banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels can reopen with restrictions.

Additionally, retail capacity has been raised to 25 per cent from 15 per cent, and performing groups will be able to rehearse.

Locally, Morinville had no new cases, two more recoveries, and one additional death over the weekend for a total of 8 active cases. Sturgeon County had no new cases and no more recoveries since Friday for a total of two active cases.

Sturgeon County has had a total of three deaths, Morinville has had 12 deaths. Government data on localized cases was not available Saturday and Sunday.

Below is a list of the changes announced Monday.

New under Step 2: Hospitalization benchmark – 450 and declining

Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels

  • These facilities can now open for all activities permitted under Step 1 and Step 2.
  • This includes hosting virtual meetings/conferences/events, permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 individuals, and funeral services up to a maximum of 20 individuals.
  • Wedding receptions, funeral receptions or trade shows are not permitted.

Retail

  • All retail services and shopping malls must limit customer capacity to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy, not including staff. This is an increase from 15 per cent.
  • This includes individual stores and common areas.
  • Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged.

Performance activities

  • Individuals or groups can now rehearse and perform in preparation for filming or live streaming a performance, provided they adhere to public health guidance.
  • For adult performers and performance groups (over the age of 18), the following activities are permitted:
    • Individual performers or performance groups (up to a maximum of 10 individuals) can access facilities for rehearsals or filming/virtual broadcasting.
    • Larger indoor film and other performances will be allowed provided there is no audience and subject to an approved plan that follows strict new guidance, including regular lab-based PCR testing.
  • No in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
  • Masks are required and three-metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • For children and youth, performance activities are permitted provided they follow the same requirements set out for youth sport, performance and recreation activities in Step 1:
    • Up to a maximum of 10 individuals with three-metre distancing between all participants.
    • No spectators or in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
    • Masks are mandatory at all times.
    • Includes lessons and practices.
    • Includes youth development activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H.
  • Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre and playing instruments.

Youth sports and recreation

  • There is no change to the restrictions around youth sport and recreation.
  • The Step 1 restrictions around youth sports and recreation have been expanded to include members of college and university athletic programs:
    • Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed.
    • Games are not allowed.
    • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
    • Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all time.
    • Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity.

The earliest a decision on moving to Step 3 would occur Mar. 22.

Additional details on the current restrictions are outlined on alberta.ca.

 

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