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Alberta announces reopening plan, expected to start in May

Premier Jason Kenny revealed his three stage reopening plan for the province which takes a phased approach similar to Saskatchewan’s plan.

Before stage one, Alberta Health Services will be allowed to offer non-urgent surgeries as early as May 4. Other medical services and health care workers will be allowed to resume service on the same day as long as they follow approved guidelines from their professional colleges.

Vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas in parks and public land will open on May 1. Some boat launches will be open on May 1 with all of them planned to open by May 14. 

Campsites are planned to be open by June 1 with sites only open to Albertans. Group and comfort camping will not be offered and washrooms or garbage pickup will not be available within provincial parks. Restrictions on campground facilities such as showers and cooking shelters will be posted on the parks website. Online reservations will be available on May 14.

Private and municipal campgrounds and parks can open under local authority with physical distancing restrictions in place. Golf courses can open on May 4 but clubhouses and pro shops will stay closed.

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Before moving on to stage one the province will be putting safeguards in place such as enhancing testing capacity, stronger international border controls and rules for mask-use in crowded spaces. 

Physical distancing requirements of two metres will remain in place through all stages of relaunch and hygiene practices will continue to be required. Albertans are also encouraged to stay home if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or if they are sick. 

Stage one could start as early as May 14 and businesses allowed to open will include:

  • Retail stores such as clothing, furniture and bookstores
  • Vendors at farmers markets
  • Personal services like hairstyling and barber shops
  • Museums and art galleries
  • More surgeries such as physiotherapy, chripractratic and optometry
  • Daycares and out-of school care with limits on occupancy
  • Summer camps and summer school with limits on occupancy 
  • Cafés, restaurants with no bar service to reopen for public seating at 50 per cent capacity
  • Additional outdoor recreation

Not permitted in stage one:

  • Gathering of more than 15 people
  • Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts
  • Movie theatres, theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will be limited
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students

The province also does not recommend non-essential travel, especially outside of the province, during this stage. Remote working is also encouraged during this time. 

Stage two will begin based on the success of stage one and will allow more businesses to reopen with physical distancing and other public health guidelines in place. Stage two includes:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools to reopen with restrictions
  • More scheduled surgeries including backlog elimination
  • Personal services such as tanning, estheticians, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures and pedicures
  • Permit larger gatherings with the number of people to be determined based on the risk for different activities
  • Movie theatres and theaters with restrictions

Not permitted in stage two include:

  • Nightclubs, gyms, recreation centres and arenas
  • Arts and culture festivals, concerts, attendance at major sporting events and other mass gatherings

Non-essential travel is again not recommended at this stage.

Stage three includes:

  • Fully reopening all businesses and services with some limited restrictions
  • Permitting larger gatherings
  • Arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events with some restrictions
  • Nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas
  • Industry conferences will be allowed with restrictions
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