Alberta to lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday

A pedestrian walks through downtown Calgary on December 9, 2020.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

The “vast majority” of public health restrictions in Alberta will be lifted starting Tuesday, including the provincial mask mandate, Premier Jason Kenney announced Saturday.

Kenney said metrics like hospitalizations, test positivity and COVID-19 sewage data are all moving in the right direction, even since the province eased some restrictions earlier this month.

He said the provincial mask mandate will end on March 1, along with all venue capacity limits, mandatory work-from-home requirements and social gathering limits.

Masks will still be needed in high-risk settings such as public transit, hospitals and nursing homes, he said.

“Increasingly, we need to move from responsibility for the whole of society to a much more targeted approach based on personal responsibility,” said Kenney, who made the announcement at the opening ceremony of a new hospital in Grande Prairie on Saturday.

“We just can’t go on forever like we’ve been doing for the past two years. We will break society if we continue to do this,” he added.

Health Minister Jason Copping said remaining school requirements such as cohort and physical distancing will also be waived, as will health screening before youth activities.

He said isolation is still mandatory for people showing symptoms of COVID-19 or testing positive.

Kenney ended the province’s vaccination passport earlier this month as well as mask requirements for schools and mask requirements in all settings for children under 12.

He said at the time that Alberta would enter Stage 2 of the reopening plan on March 1 if hospitalizations for COVID-19 trended downward.

“We’ve always said we won’t let our hospitals be overwhelmed, but I’m confident we can avoid having to go back to damaging restrictions as long as we continue to see people step in, especially with these third shots and we’re learning to live. with COVID,” Kenney said Saturday.

He noted that people should always keep in mind that COVID-19 is real and they “will have to determine their own level of risk.” For those who are immunocompromised, he said that may mean taking extra precautions if they are in large crowds.

The City of Calgary immediately issued a statement that its own pandemic face covering regulations will end at the same time as the province’s.

Until then, he said face coverings are still mandatory for anyone over the age of 12 in indoor public spaces and public vehicles.

“Some of us will welcome the lifting of restrictions while others will prefer to continue wearing face coverings and following other precautions,” Susan Henry of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency said in the statement. .

“We need to be kind and compassionate to each other, respect those personal choices and make sure everyone can move at the speed they feel comfortable with.”

As the Prime Minister made the announcement, protesters against COVID-19 health restrictions gathered again near the Legislative Assembly in Edmonton, as they have done every Saturday for weeks, as the police warned that another convoy of trucks was coming.

Police said they continue to order convoy organizers to refrain from honking or excessive noise that disrupts residences and businesses, and will continue to enforce traffic violations, including noise violations.

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