Tuesday marks the start of Alberta’s staggered reopening, as the province officially moves into Stage 1 of the “Open for Summer” plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the three-stage plan last week, which boldly aims to lift nearly all COVID-19 public health restrictions province-wide by the end of June or early July.
The threshold for Stage 1 is that two weeks have passed since 50 per cent of eligible Albertans age 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and that hospitalizations from the disease are below 800 and declining.
There are currently 439 people in hospital with COVID-19 and Alberta hit the 50 per cent vaccination threshold on May 18.
So what can Albertans do now, that they couldn’t a day earlier? Here’s a closer look at Stage 1 of the province’s plan:
Places of worship
Places of worship were given a head start to Step 1, with capacity restrictions easing last Friday.
Effective May 28, places of worship were able to up their capacity to 15 per cent of their fire code.
Outdoor social gatherings
Albertans can now gather in groups of up to 10 people outdoors. Previously, the limit was five people for outdoor gatherings in much of the province.
Outdoor sports and recreation activities
Outdoor physical, performance and recreation activities are allowed in groups of up to 10 people. Participants must follow physical distancing rules. Activities are allowed for people of all ages.
Personal and wellness services
Personal and wellness services such as hair salons, nail studios and barbershops can reopen by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted.
These services have been closed down for a little over three weeks.
Funeral services can now have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers who are not considered guests. Funeral receptions remain prohibited under Stage 1.
Wedding ceremonies are limited to 10 people, including the officiant, the couple tying the knot and witnesses. Wedding receptions remain prohibited.
Patios at restaurants across the province are allowed to reopen. Tables are limited to a maximum of four people who must be from the same household or two close contacts for those who live alone.
Indoor dining at restaurants remains closed.
Retail capacity in stores across the province has been increased to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. Physical distancing must be followed.
Distancing and masks
Physical distancing and masks remain mandatory under Stage 1.
Looking ahead to Stage 2
The threshold for Stage 2 of the “Open for Summer” plan is two weeks after 60 per cent of the eligible population receives one dose of vaccine and hospitalizations are at 500 and declining.
The province has said Stage 2 could come into effect as soon as June 10.