I am thrilled Stage 2 of Alberta’s Relaunch strategy has been accelerated both in timing and scope.
In timing, Stage 2 has been moved forward a week from June 19, to now commence this Friday. In scope, Stage 2 has also been expanded so that Relaunch now supports substantially all of the activities Alberta families and individuals enjoyed prior to the Pandemic.
The full details of Stage 2 are found at https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx#stage2
Albertans do not want Government micromanaging their lives with prescriptive do’s and don’ts. That limits freedom. Albertans are aware of general safety guidelines, such as physical distancing, and as applicable, supplementary guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Albertans are then trusted to apply these guidelines and govern themselves, embracing life while accepting reasonable, informed risks in the course of daily living.
Starting Friday, organizations get to determine for themselves when they are ready to reopen and apply physical distancing and other pertinent public health guidelines.
Stage 2 includes wellness and personal services, such as massage. Gyms, pools, theatres, community halls, libraries are now open. Our provincial campgrounds open at full capacity. Indoor social gatherings are expanded to 50 people and outdoor gatherings expanded to 100, including weddings and funerals.
Going forward there will be no fixed cap for restaurants and faith organizations, with only physical distancing parameters determining a practical cap with reference to the particular physical space.
This is wonderful news. These activities support the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of Alberta individuals and families.
Stage 2 also seeks to level the playing field across different businesses and organizations to apply safety guidelines if they have similar risk exposures and have similar capacities to reduce those risks. In this respect, I am very encouraged, even excited, to see improvements freeing our wonderful faith organizations who make such valuable contributions to our community.
The State of Public Health Emergency will expire on June 15.
Red Deer individuals and families have done an excellent job of reducing the spread of COVID-19. As Albertans as a whole, continue in vigilance to act reasonably and respectfully, we will mitigate the risks and impacts of any second waves, securing better days ahead.
Jason Stephan is the UCP MLA for Red Deer-South