Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

COVID-19 economic relaunch plan: Alberta restaurants, bars reopen to indoor customers

Indoor gatherings still banned and outdoor get-togethers are capped at 10

EDMONTON — Alberta restaurants can reopen today for in-person dining as part of the province’s four-step plan to reopen the economy.

Restaurants had been closed to in-person dining after a resurgence of COVID-19 late last year sent case numbers soaring.

Premier Jason Kenney says reduced case numbers have made it possible to ease some restrictions, but he has also criticized some restaurants for ignoring public health orders by opening their doors prematurely.

Fitness training can also resume today but only for one-on-one workouts — individual workouts without a trainer are not permitted.

Sports and entertainment-related activities can resume in schools, and the province also said over the weekend that youth will be able to take part in lessons and practices for team-based minor sports and athletics, although games are still prohibited.

Indoor gatherings are still banned and outdoor get-togethers are capped at 10.

The plan has been criticized by some as too risky given there are more than 500 Albertans still in hospital with COVID-19 and more than 60 cases of two variant strains of the virus.

The two variants, originating in the United Kingdom and South Africa, are exponentially more contagious than the original strain and, if left unchecked, could quickly swamp hospitals.

The Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association wants the staged reopening shelved given the uncertainty of the variants.

The Opposition NDP says the province has put small- and medium-sized businesses in a no-win situation by not providing supports they need to stay closed and pushing them to move forward with risky reopenings.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, says the new strains are a concern, but adds more resources have been put in place to deal with them, including the capability of testing 300 positive cases a day for the variants.

As for the reopening, Hinshaw has said comparable provinces like British Columbia and Saskatchewan have similar per-capita COVID-19 rates with comparable economic measures.

There is a minimum three-week lag between stages to fully assess the impact on case rates. Both Hinshaw and Kenney have said if the reopening must be paused or rolled back, it will be.

The four-stage scenario is tied mainly to hospitalization rates. Stage 1 is moving ahead because there are fewer than 600 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19.

When fewer than 450 are hospitalized, there is to be a further easing of restrictions on hotels, retailers and conference centres. Right now, retailers are open at 15 per cent capacity.

If there are fewer than 300 COVID-19 patients in hospital, entertainment venues — including casinos, cinemas, theatres and art galleries — will be able to open and the 15 per cent capacity limit for faith-based services will be eased.

Large events such as indoor concerts, trade shows, and weddings are to get the green light when there are fewer than 150 hospital cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021.

AlbertaBusinessCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud, right, vies for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, NJ., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Entering his ninth season with Toronto FC, Jonathan Osorio said his off-season regimen was no different than in the past. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) makes the save on Toronto Maple Leafs' Zach Hyman (11) as Tyson Barrie (22) defends during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Toronto continues to lead the North Division standings, but hard-charging Edmonton is now just four points back on the all-Canadian circuit heading into a three-game series between the teams in Alberta's capital beginning Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Angela James stands on centre ice in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs team after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame before Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday November 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talks to center Aron Baynes (46) and guard Norman Powell (24) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Team Ontario skip Rachel Homan, centre, makes a shot against Team Wild Card 1 as second Sarah Wilkes, left, and lead Joanne Courtney sweep at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Ontario's Rachel Homan kicked off play in the championship pool Friday with a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey of Team Wild Card One at the Canadian women's curling playdowns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Homan and Einarson improve to 8-1 at Canadian women’s curling championship

Homan and Einarson improve to 8-1 at Canadian women’s curling championship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

Most Read