COVID-19: Alberta moves into Stage 1 of reopening — Here’s what you can and can’t do

Tuesday marks the start of Alberta’s staggered reopening, as the province officially moves into Stage 1 of the “Open for Summer” plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Premier Jason Kenney announced the three-stage plan last week, which boldly aims to lift nearly all COVID-19 public health restrictions province-wide by the end of June or early July.

Read more: COVID-19: Kenney outlines Alberta’s reopening plan for summer

The threshold for Stage 1 is that two weeks have passed since 50 per cent of eligible Albertans age 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and that hospitalizations from the disease are below 800 and declining.

There are currently 439 people in hospital with COVID-19 and Alberta hit the 50 per cent vaccination threshold on May 18.

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So what can Albertans do now, that they couldn’t a day earlier? Here’s a closer look at Stage 1 of the province’s plan:

Places of worship

Places of worship were given a head start to Step 1, with capacity restrictions easing last Friday.

Effective May 28, places of worship were able to up their capacity to 15 per cent of their fire code.

Outdoor social gatherings

Albertans can now gather in groups of up to 10 people outdoors. Previously, the limit was five people for outdoor gatherings in much of the province.

Read more: Former top doctor calls Alberta’s COVID-19 reopening plan ‘aggressive to the point of recklessness’

Outdoor sports and recreation activities

Outdoor physical, performance and recreation activities are allowed in groups of up to 10 people. Participants must follow physical distancing rules. Activities are allowed for people of all ages.

Personal and wellness services

Personal and wellness services such as hair salons, nail studios and barbershops can reopen by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted.

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These services have been closed down for a little over three weeks.

Click to play video: '‘I want to have a great summer like everybody else’: Alberta ICU doctor on what he anticipates this summer in Alberta' ‘I want to have a great summer like everybody else’: Alberta ICU doctor on what he anticipates this summer in Alberta

‘I want to have a great summer like everybody else’: Alberta ICU doctor on what he anticipates this summer in Alberta

Funeral services

Funeral services can now have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers who are not considered guests. Funeral receptions remain prohibited under Stage 1.

Wedding ceremonies

Wedding ceremonies are limited to 10 people, including the officiant, the couple tying the knot and witnesses. Wedding receptions remain prohibited.

Restaurants

Patios at restaurants across the province are allowed to reopen. Tables are limited to a maximum of four people who must be from the same household or two close contacts for those who live alone.

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Indoor dining at restaurants remains closed.

Retail

Retail capacity in stores across the province has been increased to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. Physical distancing must be followed.

Distancing and masks

Physical distancing and masks remain mandatory under Stage 1.

The Alberta government released its “Open for Summer” plan Wednesday, May 26, 2021, to lift COVID-19 restrictions in three stages. Credit: Alberta government

Looking ahead to Stage 2

The threshold for Stage 2 of the “Open for Summer” plan is two weeks after 60 per cent of the eligible population receives one dose of vaccine and hospitalizations are at 500 and declining.

The province has said Stage 2 could come into effect as soon as June 10.

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Some of the changes in Stage 2 include an increase in the number of people who can gather outdoors, the reopening of indoor fitness activities with some public health restrictions still in place and the reopening of indoor entertainment venues like arenas, casinos, cinemas, museums and libraries.

Stage 2 will also see increase capacity for wedding and funeral services — both indoors and outdoors — as well as the ability to hold funeral and wedding receptions outside.

Indoor dining is expected to resume with some restrictions.

Read more: Alberta changes quarantine requirements for close contacts who are vaccinated against COVID-19

As of Monday afternoon, there were 7,646 active COVID-19 cases across the province. Of the 439 people in hospital with COVID-19, 133 are being treated in intensive care.

As of May 30, 2,781,430 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. About 62.8 per cent of eligible Albertans 12 and older have received one shot of the vaccine and 10.3 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated with two doses.

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