Jason Kenney’s three-stage summer reopening plan receives mixed reactions
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
In connection with the vaccination rates and hospitalization numbers, Jason Kenney has released a three-stage plan for reopening of Alberta for summer, but not everyone seems to think the plan is fit for the province in terms of science and safety.
Leader of the Opposition Rachel Notley released a statement on Twitter saying that Albertans must be informed of the science behind the newly announced COVID-19 restrictions for the province.
“It’s not clear how Jason Kenney decided on this pace, whether it was informed by science, or whether he simply worked backwards from the first day of the Calgary Stampede”, she added.
Kathleen Ganley, the MLA for Calgary-Mountain View also shared that there should be concern for loved ones under the age of 12.
“…a friendly reminder – some of us have people under 12 in our lives we love very, very much.” Ganley added.
Another one of Alberta’s MLAs, Jon Carson for Edmonton-West Henday, also tweeted a statement about the benchmarks set by the government for vaccination.
“I’m concerned about the pace of this reopening plan. The UCP’s threshold for Phase 1 is a 50% vaccination rate, while other provinces are waiting for 60% or 70%. Other provinces wait 3 weeks after hitting key thresholds, but the UCP only wait for 2.”, Carson said.
But there are also politicians and media personalities who support the plan.
Brock W. Harrison, the Executive Director of Communications and Planning for the Premier of Alberta, said that it’s time to open the province for summer.
“Honestly surprised to see Rachel Notley and the NDP pushing to keep restrictions in place into July and August. Albertans have crushed the spike.” Harrison added.
The Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe also took Twitter to display his commendations of Kenney’s plan and those of the other premiers in Canada.
“Great plan from Jason Kenney. It’s good to see premiers across the country including
Doug Ford, John Horgan & François Legault also announce reopening plans based on vaccination targets. Vaccines work & are providing Canadians with hope as we emerge from this pandemic.”, Moe said.
Edmonton Sun writer Lorne Gunter also said in his column that Kenney’s reopening plan is based on science and not fear.
“Infections and hospitalizations are plummeting, while tens of thousands more Albertans get vaccinated every day. And the vaccines are very effective. That combination makes it extremely unlikely we will witness a return to high numbers of new daily positive tests or see hospital capacity pushed to the limit again.”, Gunter said.
Stage 1 of Alberta’s plan starts on June 1 where up to 10 people are allowed to gather in outdoor social gatherings. Outdoor, physical, performance and recreational activities, as well as wedding ceremonies will also have a 10 person gather limit. Places of worship and retail stores will be allowed to have 15% of its fire code occupancy. Meanwhile, funeral services can have up to 20 people. Restaurants will also be allowed to have a maximum of 4 people per table in an outdoor dining space.
Stage two will commence two weeks after 60% of Albertans in the ages 12 and above have received at least one dose and hospitalizations are below 500 and declining. Restrictions will significantly lessen at this point, which is expected to happen mid-June. But the most notable regulation is the permission of outdoor public gatherings like concerts and festivals of up to 150 people.
Around late June or early July is the expected start of stage three. This happens two weeks after 70% of Albertans ages 12 and older have received at least one dose. All restrictions will be lifted, even the ban on indoor social gatherings.
For more information about Alberta’s three-stage reopening plan, visit https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.