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Alberta Relaunch stage 1 mostly a go for Thursday – Restrictions for Calgary and Brooks

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From the Province of Alberta

Alberta is ready for relaunch

Stage one – all areas of Alberta except cities of Calgary and Brooks

  • With increased infection prevention and control measures to minimize the risk of increased transmission of infections, some businesses and facilities can start to resume operations on May 14 in all areas except the cities of Calgary and Brooks:
    • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
    • Museums and art galleries.
    • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
    • Hairstyling and barbershops.
    • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to reopen for table service only at 50 per cent capacity.
    • Day camps, including summer school, will be permitted with limits on occupancy.
    • Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses; however, there will be more flexibility to include in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.
    • Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow specific guidance already online.
    • The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually.
    • Regulated health professions are permitted to offer services as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.
  • In Calgary and Brooks, the relaunch will be gradual over 18 days due to higher COVID-19 case numbers in these communities.

Stage one – cities of Calgary and Brooks

Opening May 14:

  • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
  • The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually.
  • Regulated health professions are permitted to offer services as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.

Opening May 25:

  • Hairstyling and barbershops.
  • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to reopen for table service only at 50 per cent capacity.

Opening June 1:

  • Day camps, including summer school, will be permitted with limits on occupancy.
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses; however, there will be more flexibility to include in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.
  • Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow specific guidance already online.

The new alberta.ca/bizconnect web page provides business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces, as well as sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one. Businesses allowed to reopen during stage one will be subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders. It will be up to each business operator to determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance has been met.

Physical distancing requirements of two metres remain in place through all stages of relaunch and hygiene practices will continue to be required of businesses and individuals, along with instructions for Albertans to stay home when exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat. Albertans are also encouraged to wear non-medical masks when out in public places where keeping a distance of two metres is difficult.

Still not permitted in stage one:

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people unless otherwise identified in public health orders or guidance.
  • Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow personal distancing and other public health guidelines.
  • Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts, all of which involve close physical contact.
  • Movie theatres, theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs will remain closed.
  • Services offered by allied health disciplines like acupuncture and massage therapy.
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited; however, outdoor visits are allowed with a designated essential visitor and one other person (a group of up to three people, including the resident), where space permits. However, physical distancing must be practised and all visitors must wear a mask or some other form of face covering.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.

Recommendations:

  • Travel outside the province is not recommended.
  • Remote working is advised where possible.
  • Encourage Albertans in Calgary and Brooks to wait to access services upon reopening in their communities rather than travelling for services.
  • Albertans are encouraged to download the ABTraceTogether mobile contact tracing app and use it when in public.

Progression to stage two will be determined by the success of stage one, considering 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 will include an evaluation and monitoring period to determine if restrictions should be adjusted. Triggers that will inform decisions on the lessening or tightening of restrictions include hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy.
  • Confirmed cases, the percentage of positive results and the rate of infection will be monitored on an ongoing basis 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.
  • The most important measure Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise physical distancing and good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, and disposing of tissues appropriately.

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

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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Alberta

Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

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CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending licences for thousands of wells and pipelines after an oil and gas producer failed to bring its operations into regulatory compliance.

The regulator says it has ordered SanLing Energy Ltd. to suspend its 2,266 wells, 227 facilities and 2,170 pipelines and ensure they are left in a state that’s safe for the public and the environment.

It adds the company currently owes $67 million in security to the AER for its assets’ end-of-life obligations.

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination, ensure its emergency response number is working and provide a detailed plan to maintain its assets while they are suspended. 

The AER says it issued an order to SanLing in September because of a poor compliance record and its outstanding security issues.

It says it met with the company several times over the past five months to request a plan to come back into compliance but the company’s responses proved to be inadequate.

“If SanLing, or any company, wants to do business in Alberta, they must follow our rules,” said Blair Reilly, AEB director of enforcement and emergency management, in a news release.

“We cannot allow a company that has ignored the rules continue to operate—that’s not in Alberta’s interest.”

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

The Canadian Press

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