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Third wave of COVID-19 sends Alberta back to Step 1 of four step Path Forward

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EDMONTON, AB – Alberta is reverting back to Step 1 of its four step path forward thanks to spiking cases of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney delivered the news Tuesday afternoon, saying it’s not an easy announcement to make but the third wave is here and variants are winning.

He says the surge of variants has picked up the pace in recent weeks, going from about 100 per day only three weeks ago to 676 as of Tuesday.

The Premier also pointed to a recent case of a traveler returning from BC who tested positive for the P.1 variant. That one case led to 35 cases, one death and two ICU admissions.

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Kenney notes if the current trend continues, there will be 2,000 new daily COVID cases by the end of the month and up to 1,000 people in hospital.

He says if we don’t slow down this curve, we are set to hit maximum cacpacity in our system by mid-may and challenge the health of thousands of Albertans.

Because of that, Kenney says the COVID Cabinet Committee has decided to take strong steps to slow the spike and start bending the curve with stricter retail capacity limits, no in-person dining at restaurants and a return to only one-on-one fitness training.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 6, updated mandatory health measures go into effect for retail, fitness and performance activities. Effective at noon on Friday, April 9, restaurants will be restricted to providing only takeout, delivery and patio service.

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Alberta will remain in Step 1 with restaurant restrictions until further notice.

Step 1 restrictions

The following mandatory public health measures come into effect at 11:59 p.m. on April 6:

Retail

  • Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, with a minimum of five customers permitted.
    • Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged.
  • Shopping malls will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy.

Indoor fitness

  • Only one-on-one training with an individual or household is permitted for indoor fitness activities (e.g., fitness in dance studios, training figure skating on ice, one-on-one lessons).
  • No drop-in activities or unsupervised individual fitness.
  • Group fitness, high or low intensity, is not allowed.
  • Outdoor physical activity is allowed with up to 10 people, provided physical distancing is maintained between households.

Adult performance activities

  • Adult performance activities are not permitted. Performance activities include dancing, singing, acting, playing a musical instrument and any rehearsal or theatrical performances.

The following mandatory public health measures come into effect at noon on Friday, April 9:

Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafés

  • Indoor in-person service is no longer permitted
    • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.
    • Outdoor patio dining is also allowed. Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
    • Household members only, or two close contacts of someone who lives alone.
    • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.

The following mandatory public health measures remain in effect unchanged:

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Places of worship

  • All places of worship will continue to be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance.
    • Virtual or online services are strongly encouraged.
    • Drive-in services where individuals do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance will be permissible and are not subject to capacity restrictions.

Social gatherings

  • Indoor social gatherings continue to be prohibited.
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 participants, provided physical distancing and other measures continue to be followed.

Personal and wellness services

  • Personal and wellness services can be open for appointment only. This includes hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos and piercing.
  • Health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens can remain open for in-person attendance.

Indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance

  • K-12 schools and post-secondary children’s sport and performance activities, such as physical education classes, can now use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.
  • Lessons, practices and conditioning activities, but not games, may occur for indoor team-based minor sports/activities and school athletics.
    • All participants must be 18 years old or younger, excluding coaches or trainers.
    • Maximum of 10 individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
    • Participants must stay physically distanced from each other at all times.

More details on what a return to Step 1 entails, can be found on the Government of Alberta website.

Alberta reported 931 new cases of COVID-19 on Apr 5 out of 9,126 tests for a provincial positivity rate of about 10.2 percent.

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Tina Karst

A Lethbridge College alumnus, Tina moved back to the community two years after convocation, in September 2007, to become a member of the CJOC News Team. She started as a weekend reporter/anchor and now serves as Associate News Director. When Tina’s not tracking down local news, she’s either busy at home with Jordan and their two kids or creating custom macrame pieces for a growing list of clients.

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