The City of Grande Prairie is not currently planning to re-instate its mandatory mask bylaw when the provincial order eventually gets lifted. Mayor Jackie Clayton says with the strategy announced by the province on Wednesday, there is a clear, and realistic timeline to reopening. She adds when the mandate is completely lifted, people in the region will likely be happy.

“There has been no discussion, or consideration for bringing back our mask bylaw at this time,” she adds.

Stage one of re-openings, which will go into effect June 1st, will allow outdoor social gathering limits to be expanded. It will also allow for patio and outdoor dining in restaurants, as well as outdoor recreation activities. Stage two will allow more restrictions to be lifted, including indoor dining at restaurants and looser capacity retail restrictions. Stage three meanwhile will fully lift all COVID-19 restrictions, including indoor gathering.

All three stages of the plan are tied to the percent of Albertans 12 and older vaccinated, with stage three going into effect two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine. The full re-opening, according to Premier Jason Kenney, could come as early as the end of June.

Clayton says the Grande Prairie region, and AHS Northzone are doing a great job when it comes to vaccinations in recent weeks. She adds they know people are keeping good on their appointments, with the Montrose Vaccination clinic continuing to stay busy.

“We do have a very young population, so with a combination of the age groups recently being added and the access to vaccinations, we’ve seen our numbers rise, which is a good sign,” she says.

“We need to stick to the plan… right now for stage two, for example, we need 76,000 first doses, and there are 99,000 booked. If people stick with their appointments, and we stick with the pace we are doing with vaccinations… we should be good,” she adds.

The bylaw, which went into effect in October 2020, expired on January 31st, 2021.