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Saturday , 31 July 2021

More restrictions eased Monday as Alberta moves fully into next step of re-opening

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said effective immediately the province will fully move into Step 2 of the province’s relaunch.

This will affect banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels, college sports and recreation activities, and include further easing of performance activities and at retail establishments as of Monday.

Retail services and shopping malls now can have 25 per cent customer capacity, which is an increase from 15 per cent.

Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels can now host virtual meetings, conferences, and events, permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 individuals, and funeral services up to a maximum of 20 individuals.

However, wedding receptions, funeral receptions or trade shows are not permitted.

When it comes to performance activities, the government said individuals or groups can now rehearse and perform in preparation for filming or live streaming a performance, provided they follow public health guidance.

For adult performers and performance groups (over the age of 18), the following activities are permitted:

  • Individual performers or performance groups (up to a maximum of 10 individuals) can access facilities for rehearsals or filming/virtual broadcasting.
  • Larger indoor film and other performances will be allowed provided there is no audience and subject to an approved plan that follows strict new guidance, including regular lab-based PCR testing.

No in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.

  • Masks are required and three-metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • For children and youth, performance activities are permitted provided they follow the same requirements set out for youth sport, performance and recreation activities in Step 1:
    • Up to a maximum of 10 individuals with three-metre distancing between all participants.
    • No spectators or in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
    • Masks are mandatory at all times.
    • Includes lessons and practices.
    • Includes youth development activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H.
  • Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre and playing instruments.

The Step 1 restrictions around youth sports and recreation have been expanded to include members of college and university athletic programs.

  • Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed.
  • Games are not allowed.
  • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all time.
  • Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity

The earliest the province could move into Step 3 is March 22 provided there is fewer than 300 hospitalizations and other key indicators based on cases and growth, including variant cases.

This decision comes as there is 23 active cases within the M.D. of Bonnyville, 15 active within the City of Cold Lake, and 17 active within Lac La Biche County, according to the province’s virus data map.

Active cases fell in Smoky Lake County after a continued spike of two weeks. There is 108 active cases, many of which in an outbreak declared at Goodfish Lake.

There is 43 active cases in the County of St. Paul, three active in the County of Vermilion River, and two active in Two Hills County.

On Monday, Dr. Hinshaw reported 278 new cases of COVID-19 after roughly 5,500 tests. This leaves the positivity rate at 5.4 per cent.

Six new cases for the variants were identified, bringing the total to 659. The R-value province-wide is 0.95.

There are 254 people in hospital, 36 of which in the ICU. Six new deaths have been reported to Alberta Health in the past 24 hours.

More information of eased measures today can be found on the Alberta government website.

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.