What are the likely timelines for reopening?

There is a three-stage plan to relaunch Alberta’s economy.

The Alberta government has a three-stage plan to relaunch the provincial economy. It began the pre-launch phase on May 1, allowing vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas in parks and on public lands. Golf courses closely followed on May 2, and dentists, dieticians, physiotherapists, audiologists and other health-care providers were allowed to open for business on May 4. 

Stage 1 began on May 14, with retailers allowed to open clothing, furniture and book stores. Hairstyling salons, barbershops and some other personal-care services are also able to open their doors if they wish, while cafés, restaurants and pubs can resume service at 50% capacity. Museums and art galleries can also open.

Businesses who choose to reopen are required to report on steps taken to protect customers from COVID-19, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced on May 14. The province has launched Alberta Biz Connect to help businesses keep track of plans to comply with guidelines. 

Calgary and Brooks, who have both seen higher numbers of COVID-19, will reopen more slowly than the rest of the province. Restaurants, cafés, hair salons and barbershops are slated to open on May 25. 

Non-urgent surgeries which require overnight stays will resume on May 25, health minister Tyler Shandro announced on May 22. 

"Since the decision to pause elective surgeries, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 procedures were postponed as of April 30. About 20,000 urgent and emergent surgeries went ahead in March and April, and there is now a list of 80,000 Albertans waiting for non-urgent or elective surgeries," writes the Edmonton Journal

There is no timeline on the second stage, but it could see movie theatres and kindergarten-to-Grade-12 schools open with restrictions, as well as some larger gatherings, to name a few. Kenney indicated it would not begin before June 19. Stage 3 would apply to all businesses and services, with several rules still in place for events like festivals. 

Despite being eager to get back to work, some local businesses are concerned about how quickly the province is opening, given the ever-present threat of COVID-19. 

"While we remain in the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to see the province’s plans for relaunch," Mayor Don Iveson said in a statement on April 30. "As public health and economic restrictions are gradually relaxed, we will carefully assess our own approach for Edmonton’s relaunch."

The city will follow the province’s direction on program restrictions and facility closures. It released some of its relaunch strategy on May 13, indicating that many decisions will made at a later date, although it did relax regulations around patios, reopened all off-leash, fenced dog parks, and renewed its state of local emergency for another week.

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Monday, May 11, 2020

Updated

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see edmonton.ca/covid19, alberta.ca/covid19, canada.ca/covid19, and the World Health Organization.