Thursday , 23 September 2021

Restaurants, hairstylists, retail outlets allowed to re-open tomorrow in relaunch: Kenney

Alberta will proceed as scheduled with Stage 1 of the province’s relaunch strategy with a gradual and regional approach.

Starting Thursday, Lakeland area retail businesses, hairstylists, restaurants at half capacity, some medical procedures, and daycares, will be allowed to re-open.

Premier Jason Kenney announced that the Calgary and Brooks areas will be held back in some aspects of re-opening because of the outbreak of COVID-19.

The re-opening guidelines are available on the province’s biz connect website. 

The expected peak of hospitalizations and ICU admissions was anticipated by mid-May to be 600 hospitalizations and 190 in intensive care.

However, the peak was seen on April 29, and currently, there are 70 Albertans in hospital due to novel coronavirus and 11 of those in intensive care.

“However tempting it is for Albertans to relax your guard–please don’t. Everyone who has symptoms with COVID-19 or who have had contact with infected people, or have returned to international travel will still be required to self-isolate,” said Premier Jason Kenney during Wednesday’s daily briefing.

“It comes down to relying at the end of the day on common sense and all of us accepting personal responsibility for managing the risks. The government can provide rules and guidance, but at the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect ourselves, our loved one, and the community.

“If we slack off, people in our community and maybe people we love will suffer. And if cases and hospitalizations spike, we’ll have to reintroduce either regional or provincewide restrictions again.

“However, on the other day, if we manage Stage 1 reopening successfully, we’ll be able to move sooner into Stages 2 and 3 of our relaunch than would otherwise be the case., which will be vital to the future of thousands of businesses and our overall economy.”

When asked, Kenney said the province is targeting as early as June 19 as the time when the second stage of re-opening could occur, which would allow for larger gatherings and other services to open.

62 new cases in Alberta

Seventy-nine per cent of total COVID-19 infections have resolved, with 5,076 Albertans recovered and 1,211 active cases in the province as of Wednesday.

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed 62 new cases of the virus after 4.072 new test results.

There has been an outbreak declared at the CNRL Horizon workcamp in the Fort McMurray area as five cases of the virus have been confirmed.

In the Lakeland, all cases in Bonnyville, Cold Lake, and St. Paul area have recovered, 14 total in the three community areas.

There remain two active cases in the Vermilion River County area and three recoveries.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw spoke about the need for kindness and compassion during this time and be patient with businesses who are trying to re-open.

“Now is a safe time to relaunch,” said Dr. Hinshaw during the daily briefing.

What is still not allowed

Here are a list of things that are still not permitted in the first stage of re-opening.

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people will not be permitted.
  • Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines.
  • Public attendance at businesses, facilities, and events that have close physical contact will not be permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
  • Movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.
  • Visiting patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students will remain prohibited.

Non-essential travel, especially outside of the province, is not recommended. Remote working is still advised wherever possible.

What is allowed

These are the list of things that will see relaxed restrictions tomorrow:

  • Some retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores.
  • All farmers’ market vendors.
  • Some personal services like hairstyling and barber shops.
  • More scheduled surgeries and dental procedures.
  • Cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for public seating at 50% capacity, but people will not be able to go to the bar to order drinks, they will need to be served at the table.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Some additional outdoor recreation.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
  • Summer camps, with occupancy limits (this could include summer school).
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, but method (online, in-person or blend) will depend on the restrictions in place at each phase.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.