Health Minister Shandro announced in the Monday, March 8 update that effective immediately, that more restrictions in Step 2 of the Path Forward will be lifted.
This means the following:
- Retail stores will be allowed to increase capacity from 15 percent to 25 percent of fire code occupancy, not including staff. All retail services and shopping malls must limit customer capacity to 25 percent of fire code occupancy, not including staff. Curbside pickup, delivery, and online services are encouraged
- Performance Activities in which individuals or groups can now rehearse and perform in preparation for filming or live streaming a performance, provided they adhere to public health guidance.
- The Step 1 restrictions around youth sports and recreation have been expanded to include members of college and university athletic programs:
- Banquet and community halls and hotels can operate under limited capacity rules
- This includes hosting virtual meetings/conferences/events, permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 individuals, and funeral services for up to a maximum of 20 individuals.
- Wedding receptions, funeral receptions, or trade shows are not permitted.
Full details can be found at alberta.ca
Minister Shandro also said that consideration of Step 3 would not be visited until Monday, March 22.
In the same update, Dr. Hinshaw provided the COVID-19 numbers for Monday.
- The province saw 278 new cases with a positivity rate of 5.4%
- There are 254 people in the hospital with 36 in ICU.
- There were six new cases of the UK variant reported.
- Sadly, six more deaths were also reported.
- There are active alerts or outbreaks in 251 schools accounting for 10% of schools. Bow Valley High School remains on that list. There have been a total of 961 cases in schools since January 11.
- Cochrane is reporting 32 active cases while Rocky View County sits at 23 cases.
- To date, 297,692 people have been immunized with over 91,000 Albertans being fully immunized with two doses.
Dr. Hinshaw is hopeful there is a light at the end of the tunnel but until everyone is fully immunized we must remain diligent.
A year into the pandemic, I know everyone is tired of COVID-19 restrictions. Even though we are tired, it is important to remember that widespread immunization is within our sights, in just four months every adult Albertan who wants to be immunized will receive their first dose. Until that happens, all that is standing between another wave of COVID-19 moving into our hospitals is our actions.