After weeks of not knowing when things will ever feel like they're back to normal, Premier Jason Kenney has finally dropped a date he has in mind for when the province will start to reopen. At his address on Thursday, April 30 he laid out his multi-staged approach to reopening Alberta. As long as everything goes according to plan, he thinks that some retail businesses could be reopening as early as May 14.
"Today's announcement marks the start of a carefully controlled and staged approach to safely reopening Alberta's economy and society," said Kenney.
Right now, the province is in "Stage 0," but the first series of reopenings could include retail businesses, daycare, hair styling, barbers, and some health services could be reopening starting May 14.
There would be a second and third stage of reopenings to follow. The second stage would include things like movie theatres and personal services like massage care.
The third stage would include events, pools, gyms and conferences.
It's important to note that things still won't be back to normal for some time, possibly until we get a vaccine. However, with restrictions, Alberta is opening up soon.
Disasters prohibiting, it looks like Albertans could get their hair cut finally in mid-May.
"While we continue to see new cases and expect to as long as the virus is around, we've achieved our primary goal of flattening the curve of infections to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed," he said.
As long as public health officials are satisfied with the health controls in place, Stage One will start even if the province continues to see COVID-19 cases.
"We anticipate that some businesses and facilities will be able to open as early as May 14th," said Kenney.
"Retail businesses...will be able to reopen operating within new public health guides," he said. That means that if they're following measures like controlling the number of customers in a store at once and "disinfecting protocols."
Under these new strict health guidelines tailored to specific businesses, places like museums and art galleries will be able to open during Stage One.
Plus, restaurants can even reopen, too, with half capacity if they're able to maintain social distancing.
It will still be some time before you can have a house party to celebrate. "Gatherings of more than 15 people will not be allowed for the time being," said Kenney.
The province's full relaunch strategy could start soon, but until there's a vaccine it's likely that social distancing measures and a new normal will be in place for some time to come.