There's a glimmer of hope for Cochranites following Premier Jason Kenney's announcement to open up our province. 

The Premier announced a three staged strategy to get our province moving forward again as early as this weekend. 

Some elective surgeries and vehicle access to provincial parks, parking lots, boat launches and staging areas in parks and on public lands kicks off first.

Then starting on May 14 there will be other restrictions lifted for things like retail businesses, restaurants, museums and art galleries, dental, chiropractic and optometry services. 

Mayor Jeff Genung says it's important to note that there will still be a lot of restrictions and guidelines that we will need to be following once places start to open up. 

"I was really excited to see that we're heading back to normal but I guess my first reaction is we need to proceed with caution. Stage one as early as May 14 but each stage will really depend on our ability to keep infection rates low, the Premier was very clear on that, that it's up to us to keep vigilant in our efforts and use common sense."

Genung says the thing that I love about the plan is it's really giving us a road map we have some real data, some guidelines to work within.

"I think what's really been most unsettling for people is that there's just no certainty. How long will this last, how long can I hang on for, what financial plans do I have to make and it's hard to do that and create a budget in a vacuum where you don't have parameters to work within so now we have this road map but it's up to us to continue to follow the guidelines but yes, optimism, it's a breath of fresh air, it's like spring is finally here."

He says we need to continue to keep maintaining two metres apart and following the safety guidelines put forth by the province. 

"While all of these relaxations and relaunches and reopenings give us hope but we do have to remain careful and things are going to be different. It's not like we can just rush back to the golf course and golf like we used to last year, it's going to be in a different way."

Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce President Kelly Sinclair says they're glad to see a specific strategy laid out. 

"We were excited to see a plan in place. It's a strong strategy and a good step forward towards reviving the economy and we're definitely optimistic about the plan and look forward to further details and timelines."

She says they've been impressed with how local businesses have banded together during the last while. 

"The Chamber has been closely communicating and providing an opportunity for businesses to connect and collaborate and trying to keep them up to date on the resources that were becoming available over the last few weeks and we've heard very interesting ways of changing business operations that have been innovative. There has been a lot of support between businesses in the community so that's all very good to see."

For a full list of what is opening and when go here.