More COVID-19 health restrictions are being lifted in Alberta.
Premier Jason Kenney making an appearance at Friday afternoon’s media availability to deliver the news.
Restaurants will be allowed to reopen in-person dining and gyms can reopen with strict capacity limits starting on Monday, Feb.8.
Kenney had previously said he would give businesses more advanced notice than in the past to allow for a safe reopening.
Children’s school-related indoor and outdoor sports and performances will also be allowed to go ahead on that date.
Other public health restrictions were eased on Jan.18 which allowed personal and wellness services like hair salons, barbershops , esthetics services, and piercing and tattoo businesses to reopen by appointment only.
Stages of reopening will be based on hospitalization benchmarks.
The hospitalization benchmarks are:
Step 1 – 600 and declining
Step 2 – 450 and declining
Step 3 – 300 and declining
Step 4 – 150 and declining
With hospitalizations dipping below 600, Alberta will move to Step 1 on Feb. 8.
If after three weeks the hospitalization numbers are in the range of the next benchmark, decisions will be considered for moving to Step 2. The same three-week re-evaluation period will be used for all subsequent steps.
“This roadmap sets out a clear path for when and how Albertans will see some easing of health measures. By outlining the benchmarks we must achieve to see more reopenings, we are offering hope and a path forward. But we have to proceed with caution. This stepped approach will only work if Albertans continue to follow existing health measures and make good choices to keep our numbers trending down. It’s up to each one of us to maintain our vigilance.”
– Jason Kenney, Premier
However, Kenney says if cases surge again like we saw in November and December or if one of the variants takes hold and starts to spread at rates seen in other parts of the globe, stronger restrictions will have to be imposed again.
Indoor masking and distancing requirements will remain in place throughout the entire stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step.
Written by Tina Karst, MyLethbridgeNow.com