Strong testing data shows active COVID-19 cases in Alberta are lower than expected, meaning stage two of the relaunch strategy can safely begin on June 12, a week sooner than expected.
Albertans can enjoy additional activities in their daily lives while the province continues to open up the economy.
“Albertans have demonstrated the care and common sense needed to move forward with our relaunch earlier than initially planned. Our data tells us our active cases are low, hospitalizations are trending downward and people are taking action to protect those most vulnerable and prevent the spread of the virus. We will continue to move forward together to overcome any tough times ahead, but responsible Albertans should be proud of the vigilance they have shown to date,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
Current data from June 8 shows only 355 active cases and 44 people in hospital across Alberta. This is a decrease of almost 70 per cent in active cases since May 14 – when the province began stage one of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy.
With its robust approach to testing, Alberta has performed more COVID-19 tests per capita than most other jurisdictions in the world.
As the province enters stage two of relaunch, safety remains the top priority. More businesses, sport and recreation services can open if they are ready.
Some larger gatherings for seated audience events will be permitted. In all cases, public health guidance must be followed.
A new interactive map will help Albertans understand the level of risk in their community and learn about any enhanced health measures at the local level, giving additional information on what they need to do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and protected. Currently, no communities in Alberta need locally targeted enhanced measures.
“More Albertans can now return to work and to the activities so many of us enjoy. However, I encourage you to do it safely. Think of the people in your life who may be at high risk from COVID-19 and protect all those around you as you would want your loved ones protected. Stay home if you are sick. Stay two metres apart and wear a non-medical mask if you can’t. Consider downloading the ABTraceTogether app, and wash your hands often,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
What can open with restrictions:
•K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
•Wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
•Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, artificial tanning)
•Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas
•Movie theatres and theatres
•Pools for leisure swimming
•VLTs in restaurants and bars
•Casinos and bingo halls (but not table games)
The 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is also being lifted. Over the coming days, the online reservation system will be updated and sites will come online in phases. By July 1, all camping sites will be open for reservations. First-come, first-served sites may open sooner.
Information on additional sites will be added to alberta.parks.ca when they become available.
Maximum 50 people: Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties.
Maximum 100 people: Outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events – including wedding and funeral ceremonies. No cap on the number of people (with public health measures and physical distancing in place): Worship gatherings, restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars, casinos and bingo halls.
There is more flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep two metres apart:
•A household can increase its close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
•Performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
•Sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
•People could be part of a sports/performing and household cohort
Everyone is encouraged to follow public health guidelines and notify others in the cohort(s) if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If they do test positive or have symptoms, mandatory isolation is required.
Still not approved in stage two:
•Social gatherings that exceed above listed maximums
•Regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12. Classes will resume September 2020
•Vocal concerts (as singing carries a higher risk of transmission)
•Major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events (as these are non-seated social events and/or vocal concerts)
•Hookah lounges (permitted for food and drink only)
•Major sporting events and tournaments
•Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until stage three of the relaunch strategy.
The success of stage two will determine when Alberta progresses to stage three. Factors are active cases, health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates.
For more information, visit alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy.