Premier Jason Kenney announced the province’s reopening plan late last month. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Premier Jason Kenney announced the province’s reopening plan late last month. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta moves to Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

Alberta has taken another step towards a return to normal.

On Thursday, the province will enter Stage 2 of the ‘Open for Summer’ plan, two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and hospitalizations are below 500.

“With more than 67 per cent of eligible Albertans vaccinated with a first dose, a fully reopened Alberta is within our sight,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a news release.

“We are putting the worst of this pandemic behind us for good and moving into a bright summer and an even brighter future. If you haven’t booked your appointment yet, please arrange to get your first dose today so we can be fully open for summer.”

Starting Thursday, outdoor social gatherings can have up to 20 people, as long as they are socially distanced. Restaurants can open for indoor dining, retail capacity increases to one-third capacity and gyms and other fitness facilities can open for solo and drop-in activities.

Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports can resume and youth activities, like day camps and overnight camps can also go ahead.

Outdoor fixed seating facilities can open with one-third seated capacity and public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people.

Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres, arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.

Indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees. Receptions are permitted outdoors.

Indoor masking and distancing requirements remain in place throughout Stage 2.

Stage 3, when all remaining public health restrictions are expected to be lifted could begin in late June or early July two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have been vaccinated.

“We continue to be able to reopen thanks to Albertans who protect each other every day,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“We can keep up this progress if Albertans continue to book their first and second-dose appointments and follow public measures, such as masking, maintaining a safe distance and staying home when feeling even slightly unwell.”

Officials will continue to monitor the progress of Alberta’s vaccine rollout while keeping a close eye on hospitalization numbers and COVID-19 transmission in the province.