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Several medical services reopening Monday, retail stores could follow by mid-May

The Government of Alberta has outlined a three-stage approach to reopening the economy and lifting restrictions on some businesses as early as May 14th.

Prior to “stage one”, Alberta Health Services will resume some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries as early as May 4th. Additional medical services including dentists, physiotherapists, speech-language pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, and social workers will also be allowed to resume services as well, as long as they are following approved guidelines set by their professional colleges. Vehicle access to provincial park parking lots will be allowed once again on May 1st. Golf courses can also open on May 4th, with restrictions including keeping clubhouses and pro shops closed.

“There are signs that our collective efforts of physical distancing, good hygiene practices, and staying home when advised are helping to slow the spread,” says Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

The province says safety protocols will remain in place as further restrictions may be lifted, which include physical distancing requirements of two metres remaining in place and hygiene practices for both businesses and individuals.

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“I’m confident Albertans will approach relaunch with the same adaptability and resilience they have shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Premier Kenney. “We will support and protect vulnerable Albertans and keep them safe as we build our province back up one stage at a time.”

Stage one, which will only occur once health measures are achieved to the satisfaction of the government based on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, could begin as early as the middle of the month.

  • According to the province, stage one will include;
  • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and
  • Vendors at farmers markets
  •  Some personal services like hair styling and barber shops
  •  Museums and art galleries
  •  Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy
  •  Summer camps with limits on occupancy
  •  Cafés, restaurants (minors allowed in liquor-licensed establishments) with no bar service to reopen for public seating at 50 per cent capacity
  •  Some additional outdoor recreation

Still not permitted in Stage 1:

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people. (Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow personal distancing and other public health guidelines.)
  • Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events, and concerts, all of which involve close physical contact.
  • Movie theatres, theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs will remain closed.
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.

The government adds the use of masks will be strongly recommended in certain specific crowded public spaces, like public transit, that does not allow for physical distancing.

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