Alberta has become the latest province to announce a plan to lift coronavirus restrictions and return to normal.
On Thursday Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the three-phase relaunch strategy to reopen businesses and public services.
“I’m confident Albertans will approach relaunch with the same adaptability and resilience they have shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney said.
“A true return to normal won’t occur until there’s an effective vaccine or treatment, or until the virus is no longer there to threaten us, but until then, we all have to remain vigilant.”
Starting Friday, boat launches will be permitted and select provincial parks will be open to vehicles.
Golf courses will also be allowed to open on Friday, but clubhouses and pro shops will have to remain closed.
Stage 1 will begin as early as May 14 and will see museums, non-essential medical services and select retail stores open.
The start of stage 2 depends on the success of stage 1.
Kenney added that the strategy is flexible and may need to be altered according to the advice of public health officials.
“In some cases, we may need to take a step forward. In others, we may have to take a step back,” he said.
Alberta campgrounds will be allowed to start taking bookings on May 14, with campgrounds officially opening on June 1. Campgrounds will not be accepting bookings from out of province.
Stage 2 will allow for additional businesses and services to reopen with 2-metre physical distancing requirements. Schools will be allowed to reopen with some restrictions as well.
Stage 3 will include the complete reopening of the Albertan economy, though Albertans will still be required to maintain the 2-metre physical distancing requirement during stage 3 until further notice.
In announcing the relaunch plan, Kenney touted Alberta’s low rate of hospitalizations and high rate of testing of coronavirus, saying these measures made reopening possible.