As Albertans wait to find out whether or not the province will vault ahead into phase three of its reopening strategy, Premier Jason Kenney believes the province-wide, rather than a regional reopening strategy was the right way forward.
In recent months, City of Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton wrote a letter, at the request of council, to the Premier’s Office, suggesting that regional reopenings could see areas with a sustained run of few, or no active cases, loosen business reopening restrictions, rather than a blanket approach for all regions.
Kenney, however, when speaking to MyGrandePrairieNow.com, says the data from the Grande Prairie area, and most of the Alberta Health Services north zone, shows a regional approach likely wouldn’t have worked in the region.
“We’ve had a regional approach in the past but, for it to be triggered, [it requires] a low case count in a particular region,” he says.
“The north zone has had higher viral spread, active cases, new cases, and hospitalizations than the rest of the province for most of the past couple of months,” he adds.
Kenney says in the end, he doesn’t think it would have been in the best interest of the north zone, as it may have produced slower forward progress than the rest of the province.
“One of the reasons we’ve avoided triggering back to regional approaches precisely because it would effectively discriminate against the north with a slower reopening,” he adds.
A decision on the next phase of provincial reopenings, including the potential easing of some indoor gathering restrictions, could come as early as Monday afternoon.