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Majority of province given green light for phase one of economic relaunch

Thursday will mark the first stage of the Province of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, with a few major exceptions.

With three-quarters of Alberta’s active COVID-19 cases having been reported in the City of Calgary and City of Brooks, the two southern Alberta municipalities will not fully kick-off phase one on Thursday, but rather over a two-week period.

Premier Jason Kenney says the province-wide total daily number of COVID-19 cases peaked on April 23rd, and has significantly declined since. He adds it is a good first step, but the battle is not over with new cases still being reported.

“The growth curve has successfully been flattened in most of Alberta, but we must, however, remain careful [and] we must continue to take the small daily precautions to keep the spread of the infection low and to protect the most vulnerable amongst us.”

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Stage one of the relaunch plan includes the reopening of daycares, hairstyling and barber shops, and some retail businesses like clothing, furniture, and book stores. Other businesses like cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars will also be allowed to reopen but will be restricted to 50 per cent capacity.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there have been sacrifices, as lives, lifestyles, and livelihoods have all been impacted due to COVID-19. However, she encourages people across the province to take a moment and reflect on how the actions of residents made a world of difference in the fight against the virus.

“We’ve missed birthday gatherings, postponed weddings, and celebrations of life and Albertans have responded to this unprecedented challenge with passion and grace,” she says.

“I know the last few weeks and months feel like we have travelled a long, and arduous road together… while our journey is far from over, I hope we can take a moment today to recognize what we have collectively achieved.”

The province says it will reassess the progress made between stages one and two before making a final decision to proceed to the next phase of the relaunch. Premier Kenney says June 19th is currently the target date for phase two of the economic recovery to begin.

Still not allowed during Stage one of the economic relaunch:

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people unless otherwise identified in public health orders or guidance.
  • 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.
  • Services offered by allied health disciplines like acupuncture and massage therapy.
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited; however, outdoor visits are allowed with a designated essential visitor and one other person (a group of up to three people, including the resident), where space permits. However, physical distancing must be practised and all visitors must wear a mask or some other form of face covering.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
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