Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province would be moving onto the second phase of the relaunch strategy beginning June 12.
“Albertans should be every proud of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney said.
“The total number of infections and hospitalizations has continued to decline, even as the reopening has expanded and testing has increased,” he said.
Adding, “As a result, I’m very happy to announce that Alberta is accelerating our relaunch strategy further to open our economy.”
Public libraries, more surgeries, kindergarten to Grade 12 schools for requested diploma exams and summer school, wellness services such as massage, acupuncture, and reflexology, personal services including esthetics, cosmetic skin, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, and artificial tanning, indoor recreation, fitness, sports, gyms, arenas, community halls, team sports, pools, VLTs, casinos, bingo halls, and instrumental concerts will open with restrictions.
Provincial campground capacity limits of 50 per cent is also being lifted, and by July 1 all camping sites will be open for reservations.
All facilities and services reopening must comply with Alberta’s public health guidelines of physical distancing, frequent cleaning, and the use of masks when distancing cannot be met.
Events and gatherings can also be larger in stage two of the provincial relaunch.
Indoor social gatherings, such as weddings, funerals, and birthday parties can have a maximum for 50 people, while outdoor events and indoor seated events can have a maximum of 100 people.
There will not be a capacity number, as long as public health measures and physical distancing is in place, for worship gatherings, restaurants, cafes, lounges, bars, casinos, and bingo halls.
There will be more flexibility for cohort groups as a household can increase close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people, and sports teams can play in region-only of up to 50 players.
“This decision is anchored in science, and solid data,” Kenney said.
Regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12, vocal concerts, major festivals, large conferences, trade shows, nightclubs, amusement parks, major sporting events, and tournaments is not permitted in stage two.
Non-essential travel outside of the province is not recommended.
In order to move onto the second phase of the relaunch strategy, three public health triggers must have been met, including a decrease in hospitalizations, less than half of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds occupied, and a decrease in active cases of the COVID-19 infection.
“This means that Alberta has successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19 since stage one restrictions were lifted,” Kenney said.
“I cannot emphasize how important it is to enjoy all these renewed activities while still being diligent of the basics of public health protection,” he added.
The government of Alberta will continue to monitor the rate of hospitalizations and hospital care unit occupancy.
“We will continue to vigorously test, track and trace infections so we can stamp out our local outbreaks whenever and wherever they happen,” Kenney said.
“There will be local outbreaks, and some may require targeted measures to stamp them out, but if we stay vigilant and disciplined, we will be able to continue lifting restrictions and expanding opportunities,” he said.
Moving forward, enhanced prevention and control protocols including rigorous personal hygiene, two-metre distancing, and the use of masks in public spaces where distancing can’t be assured will stay in place.
Although restrictions are being lifted, and the provincial state of local emergency will lapse on June 15, public health orders will stay in place.
“Albertans have been doing the right thing, and acting responsibly, and a state of emergency is no longer required. It was put in place to plan for potentially overwhelming the health care system which we can be grateful we never came close to over the past three months,” Kenney said.
“If we continue to get the relaunch right, the recovery will be quicker and stronger, businesses will thrive again, our job creators will start hiring again, and hope will be restored for those to despair for the future,” he said.