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Alberta relaunch moves into Stage Two on Friday

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From the Province of Alberta

Alberta moves to stage two of relaunch

Strong testing data shows active COVID-19 cases in Alberta are lower than expected, meaning stage two of the relaunch strategy can safely begin on June 12, a week sooner than expected.

Albertans can enjoy additional activities in their daily lives while the province continues to open up the economy.

“Albertans have demonstrated the care and common sense needed to move forward with our relaunch earlier than initially planned. Our data tells us our active cases are low, hospitalizations are trending downward and people are taking action to protect those most vulnerable and prevent the spread of the virus. We will continue to move forward together to overcome any tough times ahead, but responsible Albertans should be proud of the vigilance they have shown to date.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

Current data from June 8 show only 355 active cases and 44 people in hospital across Alberta. This is a decrease of almost 70 per cent in active cases since May 14 – when the province began stage one of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy. With its robust approach to testing, Alberta has performed more COVID-19 tests per capita than most other jurisdictions in the world.

As the province enters stage two of relaunch, safety remains the top priority. More businesses, sport and recreation services can open if they are ready. Some larger gatherings for seated audience events will be permitted. In all cases, public health guidance must be followed.

A new interactive map will help Albertans understand the level of risk in their community and learn about any enhanced health measures at the local level, giving additional information on what they need to do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and protected. Currently, no communities in Alberta need locally targeted enhanced measures.

“More Albertans can now return to work and to the activities so many of us enjoy. However, I encourage you to do it safely. Think of the people in your life who may be at high risk from COVID-19 and protect all those around you as you would want your loved ones protected. Stay home if you are sick. Stay two metres apart and wear a non-medical mask if you can’t. Consider downloading the ABTraceTogether app, and wash your hands often.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health

What can open with restrictions

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • Libraries
  • More surgeries
  • Wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, artificial tanning)
  • Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • Movie theatres and theatres
  • Community halls
  • Team sports
  • Pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • Casinos and bingo halls (but not table games)
  • Instrumental concerts

The 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is also being lifted. Over the coming days, the online reservation system will be updated and sites will come online in phases. By July 1, all camping sites will be open for reservations. First-come, first-served sites may open sooner. Information on additional sites will be added to alberta.parks.ca when they become available.

Events and gatherings can be larger in stage two

Maximum 50 people:

  • Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties

Maximum 100 people:

  • Outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events – including wedding and funeral ceremonies

No cap on the number of people (with public health measures and physical distancing in place):

  • Worship gatherings
  • Restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls

There is more flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep two metres apart:

  • A household can increase its close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
  • Performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
  • Sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
  • People could be part of a sports/performing and household cohort

Everyone is encouraged to follow public health guidelines and notify others in the cohort(s) if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If they do test positive or have symptoms, mandatory isolation is required.

Still not approved in stage two

  • Social gatherings that exceed above listed maximums
  • Regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12. Classes will resume September 2020
  • Vocal concerts (as singing carries a higher risk of transmission)
  • Major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events (as these are non-seated social events and/or vocal concerts)
  • Nightclubs
  • Amusement parks
  • Hookah lounges (permitted for food and drink only)
  • Major sporting events and tournaments
  • Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until stage three of the relaunch strategy.

The success of stage two will determine when Alberta progresses to stage three. Factors are active cases, health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates. For more information, visit alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy.

Quick facts

  • Relaunch stages include an evaluation and monitoring period to determine if restrictions should be adjusted. Triggers that will inform decisions include active cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy.
  • Active cases, the percentage of positive results and the rate of infection will be monitored to inform proactive responses in localized areas of the province.
  • Decisions will be applied at both provincial and local levels, where necessary. While restrictions are gradually eased across the province, an outbreak may mean that they need to be strengthened temporarily in a local area.
  • Physical distancing and good hygiene are the most important measures to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
  • Clean your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, and dispose of tissues appropriately.

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After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

WHL Roundup: Brayden Peters makes 27 saves, Hitmen open season with win over Rebels

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CALGARY — Brayden Peters made 27 saves for his first career shutout, and the Calgary Hitmen opened their Western Hockey League season with a 2-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels on Friday.

Sean Tschigerl started the scoring at 14:30 of the first period, and Tyson Galloway added an insurance goal four minutes into the second for the Hitmen (1-0-0).

Ethan Anders stopped 29-of-31 shots for the Rebels (0-2-1), who are winless in three games to begin their year. 

OIL KINGS 4 TIGERS 2

EDMONTON — Dylan Guenther struck twice and Sebastian Cossa kicked out 32-of-34 shots as the Oil Kings (3-0-0) toppled Medicine Hat (2-1-0) to open their season with three straight victories.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Brier in the Bubble: Defending champion Gushue beats Epping in opening draw

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CALGARY — Some of the top men’s curling teams in the country returned to the ice after a long absence Friday as the Tim Hortons Brier kicked off in a bubble setting at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

The opening draw of the 10-day competition came on the heels of a successful Canadian women’s curling championship, the first of seven events to be played in the Canada Olympic Park hub.

Defending champion Brad Gushue picked up where he left off a year ago when he raised the Brier tankard in Kingston, Ont. The veteran skip from St. John’s, N.L., defeated Ontario’s John Epping 6-2. 

In other Draw 1 games, Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone dumped Nunavut’s Peter Mackey 10-2, Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe beat Nova Scotia’s Scott McDonald 7-4 and Quebec’s Michael Fournier edged Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador 7-6. 

The members of the Gushue rink last curled together as a foursome a year ago. The team won a couple bonspiels in Halifax last fall without Alberta-based lead Geoff Walker, who remained out west. 

There were few signs of rust in the preliminary-round opener. The team threw at a 91 per cent clip and Gushue was perfect at 100 per cent.

Canada second Brett Gallant made a brilliant triple takeout in the second end and jokingly waved to the cardboard cutouts stationed throughout the spectator-free arena.

The teams blanked the first three ends as they got a feel for playing on arena ice again. Epping was heavy on a hit-and-roll attempt in the fourth end that set up a Gushue draw for two. 

Ontario settled for a single in the fifth before a Gushue hit and roll set up another deuce in the sixth end. The teams shook hands after a Canada single in the ninth end.

For most teams, it was their first competitive game action in several months. A handful of tour events were played last fall before the pandemic forced the cancellation or postponement of most competitions.

Some provincial and territorial teams were able to play down in recent weeks, but most rinks were invited by their respective associations when championships were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Two more wild-card entries were added this year, boosting the field to 18 teams.

Players are staying in a hotel across the road from the WinSport Arena and are being tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. Coaches and team alternates wore masks on the end benches. 

Electronic hog-line sensors on the stone handles were not used for the second straight event due to equipment delays as a result of the pandemic. The honour system was in effect.

Three draws were scheduled for Saturday. Preliminary-round play continues through Thursday night.

The top four teams in each pool will advance to the two-day championship pool starting March 12. The top three teams will move on to the playoffs on March 14. 

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal with the winner to play the first-place team for the championship. 

The Brier winner will earn $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse, return as Team Canada at the 2022 Brier in Lethbridge, Alta., and earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The champions will also represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship in the Calgary bubble. 

Kerri Einarson won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last weekend. She’ll represent Canada at the April 30-May 9 women’s world curling championship, which was added to the bubble calendar Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. 

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

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