As Canada continues to grapple with COVID-19, a number of provinces, including Alberta, have announced plans on how to gradually relaunch their economies and day-to-day lives. Alberta’s phased approach was released last week, and we would like to take a few moments to highlight what we can expect in the coming weeks and months.
Conditions for a relaunch
The government stated that in order for the first phase of the relaunch to occur, seven elements must be in place. They are:
- Enhancing our nation-leading COVID-19 testing capacity
- Robust and comprehensive contact tracing, aided by technology, to quickly identify and notify people
- Support for those who test positive to enable isolation and containment of spread
- Stronger international border controls and airport screening
- Public use of masks in specified crowded spaces, or mass transit
- Strong protections for the most vulnerable, including those in long-term care
- Rapid response teams to deal with future outbreaks
- Even while waiting for those elements to fully come into place, Alberta has announced that some activities are ready to begin. Golf clubs have re-opened, boat launches in some provincial parks are available, and some campgrounds are planned to open. Additionally, some elective surgeries and other regulated health care businesses, such as dentists, are beginning to re-open.
A phased approach
If things continue to improve, and the conditions for relaunch are met, the government has proposed a three-phased reopening. The first phase, which could take place as early as May 14. Some highlights in this phase include the re-opening of some retail businesses, personal services such as hairstylists, museums and art galleries, daycares and summer camps with limits on occupancy, restaurants and cafes with no bar service, and some outdoor recreation.
The second phase, which would be entered into upon reaching certain milestones related to COVID-19. Some highlights around that phase include the potential re-opening of schools, the opening of libraries, restaurants serving alcohol and bards, movie theatres and theatres (with restrictions, and the permitting of some larger gatherings. The final phase is a full re-opening.
No word on the courts re-opening
As we have blogged about in recent weeks, Alberta’s courts are currently operating at a drastically reduced capacity. Most matters have been postponed, with only urgent matters being heard. The relaunch plan, however, does not touch on when the courts might re-open. We will be sure to update our readers as soon as any news about the general re-opening of courts is available. In the meantime, the team at HMC Lawyers continues to offer strategic legal advice. Our breadth of practice experience allows us to promptly handle almost every litigation-related legal issue that may arise, and anticipate potential roadblocks that may delay its resolution. To make an appointment with a member of our team, contact us online or call 403-269-7220.