Alberta Moves Back To Step 1

·3 min read

As of 11:59 PM on April 6, Alberta moved back to Step 1 of the province's Path Forward reopening strategy for retail, fitness, and performance activities. As of noon on April 9, restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges, and cafes were restricted to providing only takeout, delivery, and patio service.

The province moved back to the stronger health measures due to a significant rise in new cases, with over 800 new cases reported each day from March 31 to April 6. Alberta's active cases had increased by more than 1700 in just the six days from the start of April until these new health restrictions were announced on April 6 with COVID-19. At this point in time, variants of concern accounted for 42.6% of the province's 10,809 active cases.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 metrics in Alberta have not improved. As of April 12, there are 14,849 active cases in Alberta, with 390 people in hospitals with COVID-19 related illnesses (90 of which are in ICU). Variants of concern now account for 51.3% of the province's active cases.

As listed on the Government of Alberta's website (alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=778869DFC7AD4-F627-C941-E12D2D7B7AFB4212), these are the current health restrictions in Alberta:

Retail

· Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 percent 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 percent 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.

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:

Places of worship

· All places of worship will continue to be limited to 15 percent 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.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette