File photo. Premier Jason Kenney. Photo credit to Government of Alberta.
EDMONTON, AB – More COVID-19 health restrictions are being lifted in Alberta.
Premier Jason Kenney making an appearance at Friday afternoon’s media availability to deliver the news.
Restaurants will be allowed to reopen in-person dining and gyms can reopen with strict capacity limits starting on Monday Feb.8.
Kenney had previously said he would give businesses more advanced notice than in the past to allow for a safe reopening.
Children’s school-related indoor and outdoor sports and performances will also be allowed to go ahead on that date.
Other public health restrictions were eased on Jan.18 which allowed personal and wellness services like hair salons, barbershops , esthetics services, and piercing and tattoo businesses to reopen by appointment only.
Stages of reopening will be based on hospitalization benchmarks.
The hospitalization benchmarks are:
Step 1 – 600 and declining
Step 2 – 450 and declining
Step 3 – 300 and declining
Step 4 – 150 and declining
With hospitalizations dipping below 600 (594 as of Jan.28), Alberta will move to Step 1 on Feb. 8.
If after three weeks the hospitalization numbers are in the range of the next benchmark, decisions will be considered for moving to Step 2. The same three-week re-evaluation period will be used for all subsequent steps.
“This roadmap sets out a clear path for when and how Albertans will see some easing of heath measures. By outlining the benchmarks we must achieve to see more reopenings, we are offering hope and a path forward. But we have to proceed with caution. This stepped approach will only work if Albertans continue to follow existing health measures and make good choices to keep our numbers trending down. It’s up to each one of us to maintain our vigilance.” – Jason Kenney, Premier
However, Kenney says if cases surge again like we saw in November and December or if one of the variants takes hold and starts to spread at rates seen in other parts of the globe, stronger restrictions will have be imposed again.
Indoor masking and distancing requirements will remain in place throughout the entire stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step.
In Alberta on Jan. 28 there were 543 new cases out of 11,591 tests for a provincial positivity rate of 4.7 percent, which is up from the past few days.
The active case count sits at 7,805.
There were also 14 additional deaths, for a total of 1620.
In the South Zone of Alberta Health Services there were 39 new cases confirmed in the past day and 29 of them were in Lethbridge.
That’s pushed the number of active cases from 118 to 133 in the last 24 hours.
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