Alberta flexes COVID-19 rules for gyms, libraries, delays other reopenings

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EDMONTON — Alberta is lifting more economic restrictions tied to COVID-19 while delaying others.

Premier Jason Kenney says low intensity group activities, such as Pilates, can resume in fitness centres, and libraries can open at 15 per cent capacity.

But he says loosening measures for retail shops, hotels and community centres can't happen yet.

"While our hospitalizations are dropping ... active cases have levelled off recently. And the testing positivity rate has risen a bit," he told a news conference Monday.

"We have also observed a small increase in the daily number of new variant cases and that is worrisome too.

"That is why we have to proceed cautiously while still moving forward."

This is Stage 2 of a four-stage plan to reopen the economy announced by Kenney a month ago.

In Stage 1, restaurants were able to reopen for dine-in service, gyms were allowed to resume one-on-one fitness training and some restrictions were lifted on youth sports.

Some medical experts, including the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association, warned the province last week against further loosening public-health measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press