Premier Jason Kenney says the COVID-19 cabinet committee will meet at the end of next week to discuss further steps to reopen the economy. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Premier Jason Kenney says the COVID-19 cabinet committee will meet at the end of next week to discuss further steps to reopen the economy. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Kenney expects Alberta to move forward with phased reopening

Premier Jason Kenney anticipates Alberta will move forward next month with step 2 of the plan to reopen.

Kenney made the comment at a press conference about the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine plan Friday.

He said the cabinet committee on COVID-19 will meet at the end of next week to discuss the next step, which is supposed to take place on March 1, three weeks after the province entered step 1.

Step 2 of the phased reopening is trigged when the province reaches a weekly average of 450 COVID-19 hospitalizations or less.

Alberta has been below that mark for at least the last two weeks – with 362 hospitalizations reported Friday across the province. Reopening also depends on declining or steady COVID-19 case numbers.

“We’ll take at least three weeks between each step forward of reopening so we can carefully assess the data and trends. If we see a troublesome increase in cases or hospitalizations… then we would reconsider or possibly delay future openings,” Kenney said.

“If things were to get really bad and let’s say we end up with a huge spike in cases and hospitalizations, driven by the variants, I’ve been clear that we might have to introduce additional measures that limit social interaction.”

The premier said he hopes to make the official announcement about the next step of reopening in advance of March 1, to give businesses time to prepare for reopening.

He added that moving into the next step provides a light at the end of the tunnel for Albertans dealing with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We think it is important that we show Albertans that there is a sign of hope if we continue to do what’s necessary to limit spread and protect our hospitals, that we can continue to benefit from more social and economic activity,” he said.



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