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Alberta confirms reopening begins May 14 for most of province

Jason Kenney
Premier Jason Kenney provides an update from Edmonton on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, on the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta. PHOTO: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday that the province will be proceeding with its first stage of reopening on May 14.

Retail businesses, farmers' markets, museums and art galleries, day cares, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen. Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open at 50 per cent capacity. Day camps, including summer school, can happen with limited occupancy. Places of worship and funeral services are allowed as long as they follow provincial guidelines.

Calgary and Brooks will see the first stage phased in over a period of 18 days, since they account for three-quarters of the current COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the province. In those two municipalities, retail businesses, farmers' markets, museums and galleries can open on May 14. Hair salons, barbershops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be allowed to reopen May 25. On June 1, Brooks and Calgary will be allowed to open day camps, places of worship and funeral services.

The premier said the COVID-19 peak happened on April 23 with 336 cases of people contracting the virus and that the growth curve has been flattened in most of the province.

The probable projection in the April 28 provincial model predicted 600 people would be hospitalized and 190 would be in ICU in mid-May. On April 30, ICU and hospitalization peaked at a combined 96 cases. Kenney said the low hospitalization and ICU admissions rate show that the province has been successful in containing the virus.

Despite this success, the premier said it is still important for people to take personal responsibility for managing risks. Self-isolation is still required for anyone who has symptoms of the virus, has been in contact with an infected person, or has travelled internationally.

On Wednesday, the province reported another 62 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 70 people hospitalized and 11 people are in the ICU.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province will be releasing additional guidance for businesses today. The province will also be releasing guides about choosing and wearing non-medical masks and encourages individuals to wear masks if they will be in close proximity with other individuals.

The province will be monitoring and evaluating the situation throughout each phase of the reopening.