Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy: A Safely Staged Approached
At the end of April, the Government of Alberta announced its plans to relaunch the economy, preparing for a staged approach to safely get people back to work by gradually reopening business and resuming activities. The road to recovery is still long and unknown, but if we continue to be vigilant in our approach to slowing the spread of COVID-19, follow public health measures, practice proper physical distancing and good hygiene, and overall act responsibly we can be successful.
As outlined on the Government of Alberta website, there are three stages of reopening. The first stage can start as early as May 14, but the timing for the next stages are unknown as we need to continuously monitor the situation and adjust accordingly.
Conditions for relaunch
To ensure a safer reopening, the following elements must be in place for the first stage of relaunch:
- Enhance our nation-leading testing capacity at the highest level in Canada
- Robust and comprehensive contact tracing, aided by technology, to quickly notify people who may have been exposed
- Support for people who test positive to enable effective isolation and contain spread
- Stronger international border controls and airport screening, especially for international travellers
- Rules and guidance for the use of masks in crowded spaces, like mass transit
- Strong protections for the most vulnerable, including those in long-term care, continuing care and seniors lodges
- A rapid response plan in the event of possible outbreaks of COVID-19
Key measures to watch and timing
Thanks to Albertans, the health care system continues to be able to cope with COVID-19. The plan to move forward requires careful monitoring and respecting all guidelines outlined by the chief medical officer of health. Each stage of relaunch will depend on our ability to keep infection numbers low. Health measures we are watching include hospitalizations and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy. Confirmed cases will be monitored in real time to inform proactive responses in localized areas of the province.
Stage 1: As early as May 14
Stage 1 allows some businesses and facilities to resume full operations as early as May 14 with enhanced infection prevention and controls in place. Mask use will be strongly recommended in crowded public spaces, like mass transit, that do not allow for physical distancing of 2 metres apart.
- Some retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores.
- All farmers’ market vendors.
- Some personal services like hairstyling and barber shops.
- More scheduled surgeries and dental procedures.
- Cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for public seating at 50% capacity, but people will not be able to go to the bar to order drinks, they will need to be served at the table.
- Museums and art galleries.
- Some additional outdoor recreation.
- Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
- Summer camps, with occupancy limits (this could include summer school).
- Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, but method (online, in-person or blend) will depend on the restrictions in place at each phase.
- Gatherings of more than 15 people will not permitted.
- Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines.
- Public attendance at businesses, facilities and events that have close physical contact will not be permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
- Movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.
- Visiting patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
- In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students will remain prohibited.
- Non-essential travel, especially outside the province, will continue to not be recommended.
- Remote working is advised where possible.
Stage 2: Timing TBD
Stage 2 will allow additional businesses and services to reopen and resume operations with 2 metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place.
- Potential opening of K-12 schools, with restrictions.
- Libraries, with restrictions.
- More surgeries scheduled, including backlog elimination.
- More personal services like artificial tanning, esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, massage and reflexology.
- Larger gatherings permitted in some situations (number of people to be determined).
- Restaurants, cafes, lounges and bars continue operating at reduced capacity.
- Movie theatres and theatres, with restrictions.
- Visits to patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
- Nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas will remain closed.
- Arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events will not be permitted.
- Non-essential travel will continue to not be recommended.
Stage 3: Timing TBD
Stage 3 timing will be determined based on health indicators. Some restrictions and enhanced protection controls will remain in place.
- Fully reopening all businesses and services, with some restrictions.
- Larger gatherings permitted (number of people to be determined).
- Arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events will be permitted with restrictions.
- Nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas will reopen, with restrictions.
- Industry conferences can resume, with restrictions.
- No restrictions on non-essential travel.
- Physical distancing restrictions will be maintained.
Key Documents to Guide Your Reopening Plan
- Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy: Download
- Workplace Guidance for Business Owners: Download