Alberta reported an additional 14 COVID-19 deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta reported an additional 14 COVID-19 deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Kenney lifts some COVID-19 restrictions, reopens restaurants and gyms Feb. 8

Step 1 of easing restrictions starts Feb. 8

As active COVID-19 cases in Alberta continue to decrease, Premier Jason Kenney has announced restrictions for some sectors of the economy will be eased in the near future.

Some of these eased measures includes restaurants and gyms, as well as indoor and outdoor children’s sports, which will open in a limited capacity on Feb. 8.

On Friday, Kenney said the government will take a tiered approach, based on hospitalization benchmarks. The benchmark for opening things in Step 1 is less than 600 hospitalizations. Alberta currently has 7,805 active COVID-19 cases, including 594 people in hospital and 110 in intensive care.

“The more our numbers go down, the clearer our path becomes,” Kenney said in a press conference.

“Let’s not let our guard down… we are not through the end of this yet.”

According to a government press release, children’s sport and performance activities are permitted if they are related to school activities, such as physical education classes.

Fitness facilities will face a number of restrictions, including only one-on-one training with a trainer, sessions have to be scheduled and no group activities. Clients are not required to wear a mask while exercising, but trainers must remain masked during the session.

Restaurants must collect contact information from one person at a table and diners must be from the same household. There can only be six people at a table.

The second step, 21 days after the first easing of restrictions will be when hospitalizations are lower than 450. That includes some retail, as well as community and banquet halls as well as a further easing of Step 1.

“If cases of COVID-19 surge again, if we start moving once again to exponential growth like we saw in November-December, and if somehow one of these new viral variants takes hold in our community and begins to spread at rates seen in other parts in the world, we will have to impose stronger restrictions again,” Kenney said.

Step 3 will take place after three weeks after Step 2, when hospitalizations are below 300. That step will likely include places of worship, adult team sports museums, art galleries, zoos and interpretive centres, indoor seated events, including movie theatres and auditoriums as well as casinos, racing centres and bingo halls and libraries. This step also includes indoor social gatherings.

Step 4, with 150 hospitalizations or less would be essentially a return to every day, normal activities.

The premier added that Albertans should not take Friday’s announcement as an encouragement to return to normal.

“If we make that mistake, we will lose the progress that we’ve made to date and we will start piling up more pressure on our hospitals again,” he said.

“Avoiding that fate is in all our hands collectively.”

Albertans have been waiting for a sign of good news from the premier but had been met with silence for most of the past week. Several restaurants in Central Alberta took matters into their own hands and opened, flouting the restrictions that banned in-person dining.

The current COVID-19 measures, put into place in December were expected by many to be eased on Jan. 21 – only to be told over the last week by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw to wait “a little while longer”.

Read also:

Red Deer diner owner who defied health restrictions fined $1,200

Innisfail mayor wants gov’t to relax existing restrictions based off

The province did ease some restrictions on Jan. 14, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and also letting salons, barbershops, tattoo parlours and other wellness services open.



Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced an additional 14 COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours Friday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced an additional 14 COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours Friday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read