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  • Premier announces Alberta is ready to reopen

    The complete stage one relaunch will be phased in over two weeks in Calgary and Brooks due to a higher number of COVID-19 cases

    Premier announces Alberta is ready to reopen pic 1
    Premier Jason Kenney announced on May 13 that Alberta is ready to begin stage one of the relaunch strategy, with exceptions to Calgary and Brooks. Despite beginning to reopen, Kenney urges Albertans to continue social distancing, follow proper hygiene practices, and stay at home when sick. Photo submitted

    Premier Jason Kenney announced that Alberta is ready to begin stage one of the relaunch strategy on May 13.

    “As we continue to carefully relaunch our economy, the safety of Albertans remains our top priority. Alberta businesses have demonstrated great resilience through this pandemic,” Kenney said.

    Adding, “Now it is time to show them our support. I encourage all Albertans to go out and support local businesses in a safe and responsible way. We all have a role to play in supporting our province’s economic well-being while remaining vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. With care and common sense, we will be able to move steadily and safely through the stages of our relaunch strategy.”

    Under stage one of the provincial relaunch strategy, retail businesses, museums, art galleries, daycares, out of school care, hair salons, barbershops, day camps, and places of worship were permitted to reopen on May 14. 

    Cafés, restaurants, pubs, and bars were permitted to reopen for table service at 50 per cent capacity.

    “Dr. Hinshaw has flagged two specific areas, Calgary and Brooks where we continue to see a disproportionate number of cases, together they account for three-quarters of our current cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations. As such, we have accepted the Chief Medical Officers’ advice to have a slightly slower phased relaunch in those two communities,” Kenney said. 

    He added, “In Calgary and Brooks, the complete stage one relaunch will be phased in over a two-week period.”

    Hair salons, barbershops, cafés, restaurants, pubs, and bars have been permitted to reopen on May 25 in Calgary and Brooks. 

    While day camps, places of worship and post-secondary institutions have been permitted to reopen under new regulations on June 1.  

    Gatherings of 15 or more people, arts and culture festivals, major sporting events, concerts, movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms, nightclubs, and in school classes of kindergarten to grade 12 students are not permitted in stage one.

    Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited. However, outdoor visits are allowed with a designated essential visitor and one other person as long as physical distancing is practiced, and visitors wear a face covering.

    “I know that for some folks this will feel like we’re moving too fast, and for others, it will feel like we’re moving too slowly,” Kenney said. 

    That’s why I want to ensure all Albertans that in every single step, these decisions have been informed and guided by data and by the best scientific and public health advice available,” he said. 

    Physical distancing requirements of two metres remain in place through all stages of the relaunch and hygiene practices will continue to be required of businesses and individuals, along with instructions for Albertans to stay home when exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat. 

    Albertans are also encouraged to wear non-medical masks when out in public places where keeping a distance of two metres is difficult.

    The progression to stage two will be determined by the success of stage one, health-care system capacity, hospitalization, and intensive care unit admissions. 

    “Thanks to the sacrifices Albertans have made, much of the province has been successful at flattening the curve. Yet, I know the idea of relaunching our economy evokes strong emotions for many of us,” said the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

    “It is OK to feel anxious, but we must move forward for our collective health and well-being. Shop specifically for what you need, not just to browse,” she said.

    Adding, “Take appropriate precautions, stay home if you are sick, and look out for each other. Together, we can successfully move forward in a gradual and thoughtful manner.” 

    Although it may be tempting for residents to lower their guard, Kenney urges Albertans to continue social distancing and hygiene practices. 

    “Everyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, has been in contact with infected people, or have returned from international travel will still be required to self-isolate,” Kenney said.

    “It comes down to relying at the end of the day on common sense, and on all of us accepting personal responsibility for managing the risks. The government can provide rules and guidance, but at the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect ourselves, our families, and the wider community,” he said.

    Adding, “If we slack off, people in our community, maybe people we love, will suffer. If cases, or hospitalizations spike, we will have to reintroduce either regional or province-wide restrictions.”

    For additional information on Alberta’s relaunch strategy please visit https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx.