Alberta officially moved into Stage 2 of reopening on Thursday. The three-stage plan boldly aims to lift nearly all public health restrictions province-wide by the end of June or early July.
The threshold for Stage 2 was that two weeks had passed since 60 per cent of eligible Albertans age 12 and older received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and that hospitalizations from disease are below 500 and declining.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 329 people in hospital with COVID-19 and Alberta hit the 60 per cent vaccination threshold on May 28.
So what can Albertans do now, that they couldn’t a day earlier? Here’s a closer look at Stage 2 of the province’s plan:
Outdoor social gatherings
Albertans can now gather in groups of up to 20 people outdoors. Previously, the limit was 10 people for outdoor gatherings. Physical distancing is still required between households. Indoor social gatherings are still not allowed.
Indoor recreation and entertainment
Entertainment and recreation facilities are now allowed to open at one-third of fire code capacity. This includes things like recreation centres, casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries and libraries.
Alberta’s provincially owned museums and heritage sites plan to reopen on the following dates:
- June 10: Provincial Archives of Alberta, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
- June 16: Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, Remington Carriage Museum, Royal Alberta Museum
- June 19: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
- June 21: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
- June 23: Reynolds-Alberta Museum
Timed ticketing is in place at several facilities to allow for reduced visitor capacity and physical distancing. Visitors are asked to book their tickets in advance.
Gyms and fitness studios
Gyms and fitness studios can open for solo and drop-in activities, as well as indoor fitness classes. Three metres of physical distance is required between participants.
Funeral service capacity remains at 20 people, both inside and outside. Funeral receptions are now allowed but are only permitted outdoors.
Wedding ceremony capacity doubles to 20 people, both indoors and outdoors. Wedding receptions are now permitted but are only allowed outside.
Places of worship
Capacity at places of worship has increased to one-third of fire cod capacity, up from 15 per cent fire code capacity in Stage 1.
Personal and wellness services
Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in service. Under Stage 1, Albertans had to book an appointments at services like hair salons, nail studios and barbershops.
Post-secondary institutions can now resume in-person learning.
Indoor dining is once again allowed in Alberta for the first time in months.
A maximum of six people are allowed at each table for both indoor and outdoor dining. While physical distancing still applies, dining parties are no longer restricted to one household.
Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy in Stage 2, up from 15 per cent fire code capacity in Stage 1. Stores must maintain their ability to distance patrons.
You activities like day camps, overnight camps and play centres can resume with some restrictions.
Youth and adult sports
Youth and adult sports are allowed to resume both indoors and outdoors with no restrictions.
Outdoor public gatherings
Outdoor public gatherings like concerts and festivals are allowed with up to 150 people.
Outdoor fixed seating facilities
Outdoor fixed seating facilities like grandstands are allowed to reopen with one-third of seated capacity.
Work from home
The work from home order is lifted under Stage 2, however, working from home where possible is still recommended.
Distancing and masking
Physical distancing and masking requirements remain in place across Alberta under Stage 2.
Looking ahead to Stage 3
The threshold for Stage 3 of the “Open for Summer” plan is two weeks after 70 per cent of the eligible population receives one dose of vaccine. Stage 3 does not have a hospitalization benchmark attached to it.
Stage 3 would see all COVID-19 restrictions lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings, which has been in place since the end of 2020.
Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 would remain in place, as well as some protective measures in continuing care settings across Alberta.
Earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney suggested the threshold for Stage 3 may be in jeopardy due to declining demand for first doses in Alberta.
On Monday, Kenney said about 67 per cent of Albertans 12 and older had received their first jab, but demand for first doses had slowed down. He encouraged all eligible Albertans to sign up for their first dose if they hadn’t already. Everyone 12 and older in Alberta is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and can book their first dose at any time.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 4,204 active COVID-19 cases across the province. Of the 329 people in hospital with COVID-19, 83 are being treated in intensive care.
As of June 8, 3,157,862 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. So far, 67.2 per cent of eligible Albertans 12 and older have received one shot of the vaccine and 15.7 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated with two doses.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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