With confidence that Alberta’s COVID-19 “numbers continue to decline rapidly,” Premier Jason Kenney announced the province will move forward to Step 2 of its reopening plan come Tuesday, March 1.
The announcement was made during the official opening ceremony of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital in northwestern Alberta.
Step 2 of the government’s plan to reopen includes:
- Provincial mask mandate will be lifted except in high-risk settings, including on public transit, at AHS-operated and contracted facilities, and all continuing care settings
- Any remaining school requirements removed (for example: Kindergarten to grade 6 cohorting)
- Youth screening activities for entertainment and sport activities removed
- Capacity on all large venues and entertainment venues lifted
- Indoor and outdoor social gathering limits lifted
- Mandatory work-from-home requirements lifted
- Ending restrictions on liquor service and operating hours for bars and nightclubs
“We are in a position to safely move to Step 2 of our path back to normal and remove the vast majority of remaining public health measures in Alberta,” Kenney said.
According to a government news release issued on Feb. 8, Step 3 will remove COVID-specific measures in continuing care and see isolation for positive cases become a recommendation rather than a requirement.
That step would be taken “based on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downwards.”
Kenney said some people will be happy most public health restrictions are ending March 1, while other people will not.
He said everyone will have to determine their own risk level and shift focus from a societal approach to personal responsibility when it comes to limits.
“We cannot continue on as we have the past two years indefinitely – we are going to break society if we keep doing that.”
The City of Calgary released a statement Saturday, saying the COVID-19-related face covering bylaw will end automatically once the province removes its requirement for indoor masking.
Until that time, Calgarians are reminded that face coverings are still required for everyone over the age of 12 in indoor public spaces and public vehicles.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we are entering a new stage of the pandemic,” said Chief Susan Henry of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA).
“Some of us will welcome the lifting of restrictions while others will prefer to continue wearing face coverings and following other precautions. We must be kind and compassionate toward one another, respect those personal choices and make space for everyone to move at the speed they feel comfortable with.”
The Scotiabank Saddledome will be at full capacity when the Calgary Flames take on the Montreal Canadiens Mar. 3.
The arena has been operating at 50 per cent capacity.
In an email sent to season ticket holders Saturday, the Flames offered additional tickets at 50 per cent off saying, “We have missed having all of you here for every game over the past two months and appreciated all your support as we navigated capacity restrictions.”
— with files from the Canadian Press