Province loosening restrictions starting Friday in three-stage plan

by Stephen Dafoe

With COVID-19 cases in decline and vaccines on the rise, Alberta is loosening the reins on what Albertans can and cannot do.

After several weeks of enhanced restrictions, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro and Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer joined Premier Jason Kenney in Wednesday’s restriction reducing announcement. 

“This is a great day that we’ve all waited for for a long time,” Kenney said before announcing Alberta’s Open For Summer Plan, a three-stage plan that would see all restrictions lifted in a few weeks. “Today, we are near the end of this thing.”

Stage 1 will start two weeks after 50% of Albertans 12 and older have one dose of vaccine, and hospitalizations remain under 800 and declining. As Alberta is at both of those points, part of Stage 1 will take effect Friday May 28 and other parts on June 1

Stage 1 takes place two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining. Alberta is already at that part and Stage 1 starts Friday, May 28, with the majority of components taking place June 1. 

Stage 2 comes into effect two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining. Stage 2 is expected to start in mid-June. 

Stage 3 is in effect two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine. Stage 3 is anticipate din late June. 

Below are the conditions on each of the stages

Starting May 28:

  • The capacity limit for worship services increases to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy.

Starting June 1:

  • Outdoor social gatherings, with distancing, increase to up to 10 people. 
    • Indoor social gatherings are still not permitted.
  • Outdoor patio dining can resume with a maximum of four people per table. 
    • Everyone at the table must be members of the same household or for a person living alone, dining parties are limited to two close contacts.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Outdoor physical, performance and recreational activities are permitted with up to 10 distanced people, for all ages.
  • Retail can increase to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Personal and wellness services can reopen, by appointment only.
  • Wedding ceremonies may have up to 10 people, including the officiant, bride/groom, witnesses and any photographers/videographers. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Funeral ceremonies may have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.

Stage 2

  • Outdoor social gatherings increase to 20 people, with distancing.
  • Wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Funeral ceremonies remain unchanged with up to 20 people permitted, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Restaurants may seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors. 
    • Dining parties are no longer restricted to households only.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Capacity for places of worship increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
  • Gyms and other indoor fitness open for solo and drop-in activities with three-metre distancing between participants and fitness classes may resume with three-metre distancing.
  • Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres. This includes arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.
  • Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports resume with no restrictions.
  • Youth activities, such as day camps and play centres, may resume, with restrictions.
  • Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services.
  • Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person learning.
  • The work-from-home order is lifted but still recommended.
  • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (e.g., grandstands) can open with one-third seated capacity.
  • Public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people (e.g. concerts/festivals), with restrictions.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.

Stage 3

  • All restrictions are lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings.
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain.
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