By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, May 27 2021—
Alberta Premier Jason Kenny announced on May 26 a three-stage reopening plan set to begin on June 1. The strategy labeled “Open For Summer” aims to lift COVID-19 restrictions across the province which have been in place since May 4 when cases began to rise.
“This is Alberta’s three stage plan to lift all public health restrictions and finally get our lives back to normal just in time for summer,” said Kenny at the beginning of his news conference.
In order to be implemented, the first two stages will be based on the percentage of vaccinated people and the number of hospitalisations, while the third and last stage will only be based on the former figure.
The first stage set the target of having at least 50 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older vaccinated with one dose, something that was achieved on May 17 as the CTV News vaccine tracker shows. The plan notes that hospitalisations must be below 800. The current number of hospitalisations stands at 548 according to data compiled by the COVID-19 Canada Tracker from May 26.
Beginning this Tuesday, step one will allow people to have social gatherings of up to ten people, wellness services by appointment, funeral services and outdoor activities and wedding services with a maximum of ten people of all ages, among other activities. Restaurants will be allowed to open during this stage with tables for up to four people, as well as worship services with a 15 per cent fire code capacity — effective as soon as May 28.
The government is expecting stage two of the plan to start mid-June. It will be achieved two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans 12 and older are vaccinated — the current number stands at 59.04 per cent. The number of hospitalised people must be below 500 and declining.
By then, people across the province will be able to attend day camps and play centres as well as gyms and fitness studios and have outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people. The province also notes that stage two includes the plan for post-secondary institutions to return to in-person learning, however in an email sent to students, the University of Calgary has not yet made an official decision for the Fall 2021 semester.
“For the next two weeks, we will continue to operate under the mandatory work from home requirements and support online learning as we learn more,” the email reads.
Stage two will still require people to wear a mask and to social distance.
The final stage will begin two weeks after at least 70 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older are vaccinated. It is expected, according to the government, that this can happen in late June or the first days of July.
“All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings,” and “isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain,” reads the plan.
For information regarding the full list of activities that will be permitted at every stage, the number of people allowed and more details about Alberta’s reopening plan, click here.