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27 May 20214 minute read

The Alberta government has announced its three-stage plan to lift health restrictions

On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government revealed its three-stage “Open for Summer Plan” with the support of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. This strategy aims to lift health restrictions using vaccination rates and hospitalization numbers as benchmarks, with each stage taking effect two weeks after conditions are met. Like many other provinces, this plan is a staged process lasting several weeks to oversee gradual openings in different sectors and activities. If conditions are met, the province could fully reopen by the beginning of July or earlier.

The three steps of the “Open for Summer Plan” are as follows:

Step One: Focuses on worship services, outdoor gatherings, and personal and retail services

This step begins after 50 percent of Albertans 12 and up are vaccinated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and hospitalizations are below 800. Since both of these thresholds have already been met, the following is permitted with distancing and masking remaining in effect starting May 28:

  • Opening of places of worship with a 15 percent capacity limit.  ‎

Starting June 1, the rest of Step One will be implemented, including, but not limited to: ‎

  • Outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people;‎
  • Outdoor sports and recreational activities of up to 10 people;‎
  • Outdoor patio dining with up to four people from the same household or close contacts per ‎table;‎
  • Personal and wellness services by appointment;‎
  • Retail capacity with 15 percent of fire code occupancy;‎
  • Indoor wedding ceremonies with up to 10 people; and
  • Funeral ceremonies with up to 20 people.  ‎

Step Two: Focuses on libraries, gyms, and theatres with an expansion of outdoor gatherings, and ‎restaurant and retail capacity ‎

With the current benchmarks, Step Two is set to begin in mid-June. ‎
This step begins two weeks after 60 percent of Albertans 12 and up are vaccinated with at least one dose of ‎a vaccine and hospitalizations are below 500. The following will be permitted with distancing and ‎masking remaining in effect: ‎
  • Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people;
  • Public outdoor gatherings of up to 150 people;
  • Gyms and indoor fitness for solo and drop-in activities;
  • Indoor and outdoor restaurant dining, with up to 6 people, and with no restriction on household or close contacts;
  • Personal and wellness walk-in services;
  • Capacity for retail and worship services increased with up to one-third of fire code occupancy;
  • Indoor and outdoor weddings with up to 20 people;
  • Indoor settings, including libraries, recreation centres, and theatres with up to one-third of fire occupancy;
  • In-person learning for post-secondary institutions;
  • Youth activities, including day camps and play centres, with restrictions; and
  • The work-from-home order to be lifted, but remain recommended. 

Step Three: Focuses on lifting all remaining health restrictions, including those on indoor social gatherings

This step begins two weeks after 70 percent of Albertans 12 and up are vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. The hospitalization number benchmark is not considered for this step.

All remaining restrictions will be lifted. Isolation requirements for confirmed COVID-19 cases and some measures in continuing-care settings will remain in place.

Additionally, the mandatory mask rule will likely be lifted, with some high-risk exceptions. All details on ‎restrictions measures will be released prior to each step.

‎For further information, please consult our ‎Coronavirus Resource ‎Centre or feel free to ‎contact any member of our DLA Piper Canadian Employment and ‎Labour Law Service ‎Group, who will ‎‎ensure that you are acting upon the most up-to-date information.‎

This article provides only general information about legal issues and developments, and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Please see our disclaimer for more details.