Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on Monday health restrictions will be further eased as COVID cases continue to fall.
Retail sales and shopping malls can boost their customer numbers to 25 per cent from 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. The rule changes apply to individual stores and common areas such as food courts.
As well, restrictions are being eased for college and university athletic programs. Lessons, practices and physical conditioning will be allowed for up to 10 participants including coaches. Physical distancing must be observed and masks worn except during the training activity.
“We continue striking a safe balance between easing restrictions and preventing cases from rapidly rising once again,” said Shandro.
Restrictions around child and youth performances such as dancing and theatre also being loosened to allow for rehearsing. Three-metre physical distancing and mandatory masking will be required and a maximum of 10 participants. Spectators are still prohibited. Groups such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H clubs can also hold their activities using the same restrictions.
For adult performers, the same restrictions apply. However, larger indoor film productions and other performances will be allowed as long as there is no audience and a COVID plan is submitted, including regular testing.
Conference centres, banquet and community halls and hotels can now open for activities, such as virtual meetings, conferences and events, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 people. Funeral services can have up to 20 people. However, funeral and wedding receptions and trade shows are still not prohibited.
Shandro said moving to Step 3 will not be discussed until March 22 at the earliest based on hospitalizations and the spread of COVID.
Alberta Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that while the situation is improving Albertans must remain vigilant so infection numbers don’t spike again. The variants have proven to spread more easily, further emphasizing the need for caution.