Businesses prepared for easing of restrictions amid talks around second doses

CALGARY — Alberta has yet to release its plan on second doses for residents as restrictions ease partially beginning Tuesday, when stage one commences in the province’s summer reopening plan.

That didn’t prevent one Calgary small business owner from expressing optimism about June.

“It’s our busiest time of the year,” said Jereme Bokitch, owner of Butter Beauty Salon, Hedkandi Salon and Johnny’s Barber’s + Shop.

Bokitch said preparing for the June 1 reopening  (for appointments only) was not as stressful as preparing after previous shutdowns.

“I think this one felt a little bit different, we knew it (the last shutdown) was going to be three, four weeks,” he said.

“We’re going to be booked for the next few weeks for sure.”

RESTAURANT PATIOS REOPENING

Stage one of the reopen plan includes outdoor social gatherings and physical activities of up to 10 people.

Indoor get-togethers are still forbidden.

Beauty and hair salons can reopen by appointment only, while funerals can have 20 people, while weddings can have 10.

Restaurant patios will also be allowed to open for four people per table, direct households or two close contacts for those living alone.

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Retail shops can also increase to 15 per cent capacity.

SECOND DOSE SCHEDULE

As more vaccines become available, some are looking for a plan indicating when second doses of the vaccine will become available, similar to other provinces.

“We are much further ahead than other provinces,” said Alberta health minister Tyler Shandro.

“As you notice, there are many provinces that are just starting to make second doses available to people who are over 80 as an example.”

Shandro pointed to the province’s commitment in February and March to honour the second dose appointments that were made.

He said Dr. Deena Hinshaw will announce a plan “soon,” potentially even on Tuesday when she is scheduled to provide an update.

About 2.8 million people have received one dose in Alberta

There are more than 388,000 people fully vaccinated, nearly double British Columbia and only about 50,000 fewer than Quebec.

TARGETED

Biological physicist Dr. Gosia Gasperowicz, with the University of Calgary said second dose vaccines need to be targeted.

Once those most vulnerable and over 80 years of age are fully immunized, the province needs to detail a roadmap for remaining Albertans to receive a second dose.

“The next group that should be prioritized in vaccination is essential workers,” she said.

Gasperowicz said community hotspots also need to be targeted where case counts are high, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is low, such as northeast Calgary.

“Definitely we should set up vaccination clinics that are actually reach to people living there and get them vaccinated as fast as possible,” she said.

For hair salons, they expect that with more vaccines rolling out, Calgary will soon turn a corner on the path from pandemic back to something approximating normal.

“(I) fully expect that the city is going to go bananas here pretty quick,” said Bokitch.

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