County reeve weighs in on eased restrictions

·2 min read

The easing of COVID restrictions for community halls, retail and performances are encouraging but still present challenges to South Peace residents, said Leanne Beaupre, County of Grande Prairie reeve.

Health minister Tyler Shandro said the province will move forward with the complete Step 2 of eased restrictions during the COVID update Monday, with hospitalizations at 254.

“As we see the numbers going down, I’m hopeful we’ll see restrictions ease even further in the future,” Beaupre said.

“I believe our ratepayers our doing the best they can to continue to follow Alberta Health guidelines and protocols.”

Under Step 2, community and banquet halls, conference centres and hotels can re-open for permitted activities including wedding ceremonies with up to 10 people and funeral services with up to 20. Masks are mandatory.

“This is a good step in the right direction and gives people confidence there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Beaupre said.

Still, she said groups will face challenges under restrictions limiting the number of people using halls.

“For those operating some of these facilities, the costs don’t change whether there’s one person in there or 50,” she said.

Capacity for retail has also been increased to 25 from 15 per cent. Step 2 also allows groups or individuals to rehearse or perform for filming or livestreaming, according to the Alberta government.

For adult performers, the following activities are permitted:

- Individual performers or performance groups (up to 10 people) can access facilities for rehearsals, filming or virtual broadcasting.

- Larger indoor film and other performances will be allowed pro- vided there is no audience and subject to an approved plan.

- No in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.

Masks are required and three-metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times.

For children, performance activities are permitted provided they follow the same requirements for youth sport:

- Up to 10 people with three-metre distancing. - No spectators or in-person audiences. Indoor gatherings may be allowed under Step 3 of the Alberta government’s plan, in two weeks if hospitalizations remain at under 300.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News