Premier announces Alberta's 'open for summer' plan to start soon

·2 min read

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province will soon start lifting some public health restrictions and most could be gone by early July.

He says the "open for summer" plan is possible because Albertans have "crushed" a spike in COVID-19 cases and are getting vaccinated.

Each stage of reopening will depend on the percentage of residents over 12 who have received their first shot of vaccine and to hospitalization numbers.

The capacity for places of worship is to be increased to 15 per cent on Friday, and hair salons and restaurant patios can open on Tuesday.

Kenney says movie theatres, libraries and gyms would be allowed to open and indoor dining restaurants would be able to offer indoor dining as of mid-June if the second stage goes ahead.

The third phase could see most all public health orders lifted in time for the Calgary Stampede.

Kenney says trending indicators look good, but he's challenging people to make a final push in beating back the grip of the pandemic.

"It's up to Albertans now," he told a news conference Wednesday. "You can do your part ... by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

"We could be fully open within a month."

The government brought in tougher health orders three weeks ago to tamp down a surge in cases that saw Alberta lead North America in daily infection rates.

The cases were also threatening to overwhelm hospitals. More than 2,000 infections — or more — a day were being reported with more than 700 people in hospital.

The numbers have declined considerably since, but chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Tuesday there are still more than 12,000 active cases, so Albertans must remain vigilant.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press