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Alberta “Open for Summer” plan to begin Friday

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Alberta’s Open For Summer Plan

Alberta’s government will remove provincewide health measures in three stages as vaccine targets are reached and hospitalizations decline.

Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan provides a three-stage road map to lifting health restrictions and safely getting back to normal.

The plan provides Albertans with a clear picture of a summer without restrictions as long as Albertans continue to follow public health measures in the short term and vaccination numbers continue to rise quickly.

Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan includes three stages based on vaccination thresholds and hospitalizations:

  • Stage 1: Two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.
  • Stage 2: Two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.
  • Stage 3: Two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Since Alberta reached the 50 per cent threshold for one-dose vaccination on May 18, and with hospitalizations well below 800, Alberta will enter Stage 1 on June 1. Based on the current pace of vaccinations, Alberta is projected to enter Stage 2 in mid-June and Stage 3 in late June or early July. These are estimates only and rely on all Albertans continuing to drive down our hospitalizations while increasing vaccination numbers.

“This is the day we have all waited for. We now have a clear plan to lift all public health restrictions and get back to normal. So long as Albertans continue to get vaccinated in strong numbers, Alberta will be fully open and back to normal for a truly great Alberta summer.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Our Open for Summer Plan is a responsible plan to get back to normal while at the same time protecting our health-care system. We will end this pandemic the same way we started it – by ensuring we have world-class health care available to every Albertan who needs it.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Thanks to vaccines, we can start moving safely forward. Please book your vaccine appointment and also keep following the measures in place for a little while longer. That will protect our communities and this reopening plan.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Stage 1: Two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.

Starting May 28:

  • The capacity limit for worship services increases to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy.

Starting June 1:

  • Outdoor social gatherings, with distancing, increase to up to 10 people.
    • Indoor social gatherings are still not permitted.
  • Outdoor patio dining can resume with a maximum of four people per table.
    • Everyone at the table must be members of the same household or for a person living alone, dining parties are limited to two close contacts.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Outdoor physical, performance and recreational activities are permitted with up to 10 distanced people, for all ages.
  • Retail can increase to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Personal and wellness services can reopen, by appointment only.
  • Wedding ceremonies may have up to 10 people, including the officiant, bride/groom, witnesses and any photographers/videographers. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Funeral ceremonies may have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.

Stage 2: Two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.

  • Outdoor social gatherings increase to 20 people, with distancing.
  • Wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Funeral ceremonies remain unchanged with up to 20 people permitted, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Restaurants may seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors.
    • Dining parties are no longer restricted to households only.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Capacity for places of worship increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
  • Gyms and other indoor fitness open for solo and drop-in activities with three-metre distancing between participants and fitness classes may resume with three-metre distancing.
  • Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres. This includes arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.
  • Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports resume with no restrictions.
  • Youth activities, such as day camps and play centres, may resume, with restrictions.
  • Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services.
  • Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person learning.
  • The work-from-home order is lifted but still recommended.
  • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (e.g., grandstands) can open with one-third seated capacity.
  • Public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people (e.g. concerts/festivals), with restrictions.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.

Stage 3: Two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.

  • All restrictions are lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings.
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain.

Additional details on all restrictions and measures in place will be released prior to each step. Albertans can track the province’s immunization progress on alberta.ca.

Provincial COVID-19 transmission will continue to be monitored throughout the reopening. If required, a reopening step may be paused to respond to COVID-19 transmission trends at regional or provincial levels.

Sustained reopening will depend on Albertans getting fully vaccinated with two doses during the summer months to prevent future spread of COVID-19.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.

Quick facts

  • More than 2.55 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in Alberta.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

From maybe to no: Alberta cabinet ministers give range of answers on replacing Kenney

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By Dean Bennett in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The race to replace Jason Kenney as United Conservative Party leader and Alberta premier has two entrants so far along with a number of cabinet ministers who, when asked if they plan to run, delivered answers ranging from maybe to a hard no.

Government house leader and Environment Minister Jason Nixon says he has not ruled out running for the top job but has more thinking to do and, for now, is focused on the spring sitting of the legislature.

“At the end of the day, internal politics are internal politics, but the people of Alberta expect us to come up here and get to work,” Nixon told reporters on his way into the house Tuesday.

“I haven’t ruled anything out (on a leadership bid),” he added. “I’ll be doing what I think is best for the party under the lens of making sure that we stay united and that we defeat the NDP in a year.”

Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney said she will consult with her family, constituents and Albertans before deciding.

“I haven’t made up my mind as of yet,” she said.

Finance Minister Travis Toews refused multiple times to say whether he would be running or not running, or whether he’s even considering it at all.

“This week we are focused on the people’s business,” said Toews.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said he will not run for the leadership but plans to run again for a seat in Calgary-Acadia in the 2023 provincial election.

“It’s never crossed my mind to run for the leader of any political party,” said Shandro. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a politician or MLA in the first place.”

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said he won’t be in the running.

“I don’t have any plans for anything like that,” he said, adding he does plan to run in the election.

Health Minister Jason Copping also tossed cold water on a bid.

“I’m not considering running for the leadership at this time. I’m focused on delivering health care for Albertans,” he said.

Children’s Services Minster Rebecca Schulz said: “It’s too early to say.”

Labour Minister Kaycee Madu had two words: “No comment.”

On Monday, Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer announced he won’t run for the leadership and won’t run again for his seat in Calgary-Elbow.

Two candidates — Brian Jean and Danielle Smith — have said they will seek the leadership.

Jean and Schweitzer ran and lost to Kenney in the inaugural UCP leadership race in 2017. Jean has since returned to politics, winning a seat for the UCP earlier this year in a byelection on a platform to unseat Kenney as leader.

Smith is the former leader of the Wildrose Party, which merged under Jean with Kenney’s Progressive Conservatives in 2017 to form the UCP.

The UCP is still working on details of the leadership race and no rules or timeline have been presented yet.

Tuesday was the first day the house sat since Kenney said last week he will quit the top job once a new leader is chosen.

He made the announcement after receiving 51 per cent support in a leadership review vote by party rank and file. He said the result reflects a deep division in the party that won’t be fixed if he stays premier.

The Opposition NDP continued to hammer away at what it calls the “interim UCP” government. It said while the government focuses on its internal drama, Albertans are facing real challenges, including inflation, high gas and utility costs and long waiting lists for surgery.

“(There’s) all kinds of uncertainty in Alberta politics right now, but one constant (is) this premier’s self-importance,” NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips told Kenney as he sat across the aisle from her, signing documents and answering questions in the house.

“Anyway,” Phillips added, “enough about yesterday’s man.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

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Alberta

Oilers outlast Flames to grab 3-1 series lead

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EDMONTON — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the night with 3:27 left in regulation as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Tuesday to take a 3-1 lead in the teams’ second-round playoff series.

Evander Kane, with his NHL-best 11th and 12th of the post-season, and Zach Hyman had the other goals for Edmonton, which got 29 saves from Mike Smith. Leon Draisaitl added two assists.

Connor McDavid also had two assists to give him a league-topping 25 points in 11 playoff outings this spring for the Oilers, who kept their foot on the gas with a third straight victory over their provincial rival.

Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson, on a short-handed goal from his own end in the third period to tie proceedings 3-3, replied for Calgary, which will look to stave off elimination in the first post-season Battle of Alberta in 31 years Thursday at home in Game 5.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through 40 minutes, Calgary improbably knotted things in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56 and stunned Rogers Place.

But with the Oilers wobbling, Nugent-Hopkins shovelled home his fourth of the playoffs from Markstrom’s doorstep to send the nervous crowd into a frenzy.

Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it into an empty net.

Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss.

They won’t be thrilled with this Game 4 either, but got the victory for a stranglehold on the series.

Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score line, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick for him to bury his third inside a deafening arena.

The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).

One of three finalists for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top netminder, Markstrom recovered to deny Darnell Nurse on a chance a couple minutes later before Smith was at full stretch on a Johnny Gaudreau one-time chance.

Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the visitors pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight to bury his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.

The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked off blue-liner Nikita Zadorov.

Calgary finally showed some life on slick power play in the second with Kane off for slashing, and Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.

Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.

Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before the home side got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who was looking to become the first player in NHL history to register record three-plus points in four straight playoff games, with a terrific pad stop before Andersson’s shocking equalizer from well inside his own blue line.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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