Phase 1 of Alberta’s plan to relaunch the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic begins on Thursday, May 14, but Calgary and Brooks, Alta., will see restrictions eased at a slower pace than the rest of the province.
On Wednesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney cited the fact that 75 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province are in those two cities as the reason for the different pacing.
Here’s what you can and cannot do in Calgary starting on May 14 as we enter the first phase of the provincial relaunch:
What can I do in Calgary starting on May 14?
- Visit retail businesses such as clothing stores, furniture stores, bookstores and farmers markets
- Visit museums and art galleries
- Send my children to daycare and out-of-school care, though they will have limits on occupancy
- Book some non-urgent surgeries, which will resume gradually
In addition, regulated health professionals can offer services as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.
What can’t I do in Calgary starting on May 14?
- Visit a hair salon or barbershop
- Visit a café, restaurant, pub or bar
- Send my child to a day camp, including summer school
- Send my child for in-school classes at their kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school or high school
- Attend an in-person class at my post-secondary institution
- Visit places of worship
- Attend gatherings of more than 15 people
- Attend a festival, major sporting event or concert
- Attend a movie theatre, theatre, pool, recreation centre, arena, spa, gym or nightclub
The province is encouraging Calgarians to wait for local services to reopen in their communities rather than travelling for services.
Travel outside the province is still not recommended, and working remotely is advised where possible.
Additionally, social-distancing guidelines remain in place.
For more information on Stage 1 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, you can visit the Government of Alberta’s website.
Nenshi says the delay for Calgary was ‘the right thing to do’
Speaking to Global News Morning Calgary on Thursday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he thought the province’s decision to delay the reopening of restaurants, barbershops, hair salons and places of worship was “exactly the right thing to do” – though he wishes businesses had be given more notice that their reopening would be delayed.
“Ultimately, it was the province’s decision and they wanted to go on the latest and best information,” Nenshi said, adding that “we are where we are.”
“There are restaurants out there that have ordered a lot of food, and they were ready to open, but now they have been delayed for 10 days,” Nenshi added.
As such, he encouraged Calgarians to call up their favourite local dining spots and order in or get takeout over the upcoming long weekend.
The Point Public House co-owner Greg Taylor said his staff and employees were excited about the relaunch they expected Thursday, but when the province said Calgary would be exempt, that feeling turned to disappointment.
Taylor said they purchased about $10,000 worth of food, much of it perishable, in anticipation of reopening – not to mention thousands more on cleaning and rehiring staff.
“The 12 hours’ notice was probably the biggest disappointment, and most frustrating. At a time when we`re fighting to stay alive as it is and to have more costs …what are we doing with that product now?
“The frustrating part was the timeline they gave us on that. We’re a little different than a retail store. We have food to prep, we have to bring it in days before in order to prep it for service.”
All tables have been laid out to allow for the two-metre social distancing rule. Any tables that aren’t able to keep that distance would not be in use. Hand sanitizer has been stationed around the bar. Taylor said they have even come up with a manual about the rules surrounding tableside service.
The pub said it is still doing takeout and delivery but said there is no way it would go through that much food with just those channels.
“We had the majority of staff coming back today… we were gauging to see how many hours we could give them. If it’s busy, more hours, if it wasn’t, less. They were all excited to get back and get out of the house and see our regulars and our customers again.”
Retail shopping will be different, and retailers need to prepare for consumer trends to change
“As we know, retail is opening today, but it’s not going to look anything like it did before,” Nenshi warned.
Speaking to Global News Morning Calgary on Thursday, freelance business journalist Deborah Yedlin said though retailers may be opening their doors, they can expect to see lasting changes in the shopping habits of consumers thanks to the pandemic.
Yedlin suggested consumers may still be feeling very uncertain about their chances of getting sick if they do in-store shopping.
“That propensity to go out and shop may not be as important as it was before this all took place.
“I think it’s going to be challenging for the next little while to see who’s going to make it through, who has managed their finances properly and who has set aside times to get through these types of times.”
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