Albertans are eagerly awaiting the beginning of stage 3 of the Open for Summer Plan, which will begin on Canada Day.
As soon as the province reached a first dose vaccination rate of 70 per cent, a 14 day countdown began for the next steps of the reopening process, which will see all remaining restrictions lifted.
“At 2,471, our active cases right now are the lowest they’ve been since the beginning of October, and then declined by 61 per cent, since we started stage one and reopening back on the first of June, less than three weeks ago,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
Premier Kenney announced the latest updates on June 18, saying the province has reached a 70.2 per cent first vaccination rate. He said that the vaccine lottery announced on June 14 helped push Alberta into stage 3.
Kenney said that even though stage 3 will begin on July 1, the province doesn’t plan on slowing down its vaccination efforts.
“We’ll keep ramping up our vaccine rollout, because we don’t just want to be open for summer. We want to be open for good. That means speeding up second doses,” he said.
Vaccinations can be booked at alberta.ca/vaccine at locations across the province, with some locations offering walk-in clinics for first doses. Currently there are more than 25 per cent of Albertans with both doses of the vaccine.
Stage 3 is the final step of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan, and will see services such as restaurants, retail, and places of worship returning to normal capacity.
Albertans will also once again be able to enjoy indoor gatherings. General mask mandates may be lifted, but masking in certain situations may still be required, the province said.
Second doses continue to be important
While Kenney promises a return to normal, he urged Albertans to continue to follow health guidelines and common sense as we move into stage 3.
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said that contact tracing and quarantine requirements will remain in place to reduce transmission and keep any outbreaks from growing, as well as some measures in continuing care facilities.
Shandro announced that those who received their first dose of vaccine in May are now eligible to book their second dose, which is 11 days earlier than expected.
AHS is also introducing a way for snowbirds to add their out of country COVID vaccines to their health records so that they too can be eligible for the vaccine lotteries.
Alberta’s Official Opposition applauded Albertans for their endurance during the pandemic.
“Albertans, not Jason Kenney, deserve the credit for getting to this point in the COVID-19 pandemic. They followed public health orders, got vaccinated when they became eligible, and supported struggling local businesses during more than a year of public health orders,” said NDP Health Critic, David Shepard.
“As we move forward, we need to remain vigilant but I am proud of the people of this province for how they banded together to get through three waves of COVID-19.”