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November 30, 2021 November 30, 2021

COVID-19 restrictions let loose a little for summer

Posted on June 2, 2021 by Taber Times

By Nikki Jamieson
Southern Alberta Newspapers

As vaccine targets are hit, the Alberta government will start lifting public health restrictions.

Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan includes three stages based on vaccination thresholds and hospitalizations.

Stage 1 will take place two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans aged 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.

Stage 2 will begin two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans aged 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.

Stage 3 will take place two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans aged 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Since the province has already reached the one-dose threshold for Stage 1, and hospitalizations were below 800 — as of press deadline, Stage 1 for the summer opening plan will take place June 1.

“This is the day we have all waited for. We now have a clear plan to lift all public health restrictions and get back to normal. So long as Albertans continue to get vaccinated in strong numbers, Alberta will be fully open and back to normal for a truly great Alberta summer,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

“Thanks to vaccines, we can start moving safely forward. Please book your vaccine appointment and also keep following the measures in place for a little while longer. That will protect our communities and this re-opening plan,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health for Alberta.

In Stage 1, 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, and 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 re-open, 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, expected to begin in mid-June, will see the following restriction easements:
• 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, although 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, expected to begin in early July, will see all restrictions 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.

COVID-19 transmission will continue to be monitored throughout the province during the re-opening. If required, a stage may be paused to respond to COVID-19 transmission trends at regional or provincial levels.

A sustained re-opening will depend on Albertans getting fully vaccinated with two doses during the summer months to prevent future spread of COVID-19.

“Our Open for Summer Plan is a responsible plan to get back to normal — while at the same time — protecting our health care system. We will end this pandemic the same way we started it — by ensuring we have world-class health care available to every Albertan who needs it,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.

Additional details on all restrictions and measures in place will be released prior to each stage. For more information, visit alberta.ca/opensummer.

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