Today is a cause for celebration. Alberta has officially moved into Stage 2 of the COVID-19 Relaunch Strategy one week ahead of schedule, due solely to the sacrifices made and diligence shown by the people of the province. We can be proud of the fact that the number of infections and hospitalizations are well below even the best projections, which was cause for the government to move Stage 2 up a week from June 19 when it was originally predicted to be implemented.
This week, the Government of Alberta reported they had performed well over 300,000 tests, and have ramped up the volume so much that they are able to complete 5,000 tests in a single day. Alberta has been conducting among the highest number of tests per capita worldwide since mid-April, with expanded testing in Calgary due to the high number of cases. In May, thousands of people who were asymptomatic but worked outside of their home were tested.
With the implementation of Stage 2, the government continues to emphasize its focus on the health and safety of the people in the province. All three COVID-19 relaunch phases incorporate strict safety guidelines that are intended to allow consumers peace of mind as they support Alberta’s businesses. Since Stage 1 was implemented for the majority of the province on May 14, and for Calgary and Brooks on May 25, many businesses have been cautiously opening their doors, with some waiting longer than others.
The Government of Alberta has provided comprehensive guidance around reopening for the various sectors, as well as a number of additional resources, and provides daily reports on the number of new cases and the status of the disease in Alberta.
Stage 2 of the COVID-19 relaunch is set to begin today. There remain several strict restrictions in place, and physical distancing requirements will still need to be adhered to.
Where physical distancing isn’t possible, such as public transit, the Government of Alberta recommends the use of a mask in crowded spaces. All Albertans can now go through the drive-thru of any McDonald’s, A&W, and Tim Horton’s for a free package of four non-medical masks. No purchase is necessary.
As we begin to venture more and more out into the world, remaining diligent about hygiene is key to keep slowing the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds often throughout the day, avoid touching your face, take care to not touch surfaces that others touch often, and cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm.
Highlights of Stage 2 of the COVID-19 relaunch include the opening of:
- Community halls
- Gyms and recreation centres
- Services such as massage, acupuncture, and reflexology
- Esthetic services such as cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, and tanning
- Movie and live theatres
- Casinos and bingo halls
- VLT lounges
- Instrumental concerts
K-12 schools may open for the administration of diploma exams and summer schools, and additional surgeries will be offered to help assist with the backlog caused through the lockdown and Stage 1.
The amount of people allowed for indoor gatherings has increased from 15 to 50, and for outdoor gatherings has increased from 50 to 100. In addition, households may expand their interactions with other households (up to 15 people), and performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people.
Sports teams may play regionally, up to a cap of 50 players total.
As long as public health measures and physical distancing guidelines are maintained, there is now no cap on the number of people allowed in bars, pubs, and restaurants and places of worship.
Although all businesses and services can open their doors during Stage 3 of the COVID-19 relaunch, several restrictions and protocols will remain in place, including physical distancing. Arts and culture festivals may resume, and conferences can begin to be scheduled again. Perhaps most importantly for some, tickets can start to be sold for major sporting events, and both the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames are in the playoffs.
The Alberta Tracer Application
The ABTraceTogether app is designed to enhance Alberta’s manual contact tracing and capacity, and helps facilitate early detection. Downloading the app is completely voluntary, but means that if you are at risk, you will be contacted more quickly. Currently, there are over 200,000 users. The Government of Alberta promises security and privacy, ensuring that the app does not trace locations, does not use GPS, and information will not be shared externally. All contact information is removed after 21 days.
Since COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Alberta, we have been putting together a number of resources to assist in understanding the insurance-related implications of the pandemic. Find the following articles to keep up to date.
- What is the Possibility of Business Pandemic Insurance?
- Can I Access My Business Interruption Insurance During COVID?
- Ways COVID May Affect Your Insurance and Car Ownership
- Protect Yourself From COVID Scam Artists and Opportunists
- Commercial Insurance Questions During COVID
Lane’s Insurance’s experienced brokers have access to the best policies provided by Alberta’s top insurance companies, meaning they can recommend what is most suitable for your needs. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and greater Alberta offices to answer all of your insurance questions.