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Alberta releases business guides for COVID-19 reopening plan

Albertans to learn Wednesday if Phase 1 of relaunch can proceed: Hinshaw
WATCH ABOVE: Albertans will find out Wednesday if the province will begin to reopen on Thursday, May 14 as planned. A provincial meeting is underway Tuesday night to answer the question, but as Lisa MacGregor explains, some businesses are still unsure of how they'll proceed.

On Monday, the province released online guides to help businesses plan for Stage 1 of Alberta’s COVID-19 relaunch.

Alberta Biz Connect will allow business owners to access information on health and safety guidelines for both general workplaces as well as sector-specific guidelines.

The new guidelines were announced during the daily COVID-19 update for the province. 

READ MORE: 2 additional COVID-19 deaths in Alberta, Hinshaw ‘encouraged’ by fewer daily cases

“I know the idea of relaunching our economy evokes strong emotions in many of us,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“Some are eager to move forward and feel we are going too slowly. Others are worried we are moving too fast. There are as many opinions on this as there are Albertans.”

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“We expect businesses to follow these safety measures so that we can continue to reopen our economy while protecting the health and safety of all Albertans,” said Tanya Fir, Alberta’s minister of economic development, trade and tourism.

Alberta restaurants prepare for reopening after COVID-19 closures
Alberta restaurants prepare for reopening after COVID-19 closures

There are separate guidelines listed for restaurants, places of worship, hair salons and barbers, and other businesses set to reopen during Stage 1.

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Businesses had previously been pushing the government for more extensive guidelines ahead of reopening.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce hopes province will be adaptable as economy reopens
Calgary Chamber of Commerce hopes province will be adaptable as economy reopens

READ MORE: Alberta restaurants ask Jason Kenney for clear rules before they reopen during COVID-19 pandemic

For example, the province says for restaurants, some guidance includes operating at 50 per cent capacity, as well as wait staff needing to wear cloth or surgical masks if they cannot maintain two metres of distance. Restaurants will also be required to ensure that tables have proper distance between them. The full restaurant guidelines are available online.

Alberta government announces relaunch guidelines for businesses in Phase 1
Alberta government announces relaunch guidelines for businesses in Phase 1

The preliminary launch date for Stage 1 is set for this Thursday, although the final approval has not yet been given, Hinshaw said.

“I am listening to all perspectives and ultimately making my best recommendations for the overall health of Albertans,” she said. “We will advance to relaunch cautiously, but we must proceed for our collective health and well being.”

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Alberta shopping malls prepare to reopen in first phase of economic relaunch
Alberta shopping malls prepare to reopen in first phase of economic relaunch

READ MORE: 2 additional COVID-19 deaths in Alberta, Hinshaw ‘encouraged’ by fewer daily cases

Hinshaw added she believes it will take the effort of both staff and customers at businesses to keep the infection rates low.

“We are not going back to the way things were,” she said. “We cannot go back. We must move forward.”

The province will also be releasing more guidelines this week on proper use of masks when in public.

Hinshaw added that she believes another important reminder is that no one in the province, whether a patron or worker, should be out when sick.

“I think this is an encouragement for all of us to remember to reinforce the social norms with each other, that if we’re sick, we should not go out,” she said.

The website also includes a red tape reduction section for businesses to give feedback to the government on the reopening process.