BOW VALLEY – June will be crucial for Alberta and what its sports and fitness landscape will look like as step one of a three-step reopening plan begins Tuesday (June 1).
Alberta announced its Open For Summer Plan last week, which teases a complete lift of all restrictions by late June or early July depending on the amount of COVID-19 vaccination jabs given to people and hospitalization numbers trending downward.
“The next two weeks will be a critical time for Alberta,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health in a press release. “The more we can drive our numbers down in the next few weeks by all following public health measures, and the more Albertans who are protected by immunization, the more successful we will be in our opening.”
Step one came into effect Tuesday (June 1) and allows for outdoor physical, performance and recreation activities up to 10 distanced people of all ages.
The Banff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K was quick to post to social media on its belief an in-person event is likely to happen after Alberta's latest announcement.
"With the event now taking place on September 12th, confidence is growing strong that the event can safely take place,” stated the post.
The growing faith is from the latest numbers indicating Alberta is quickly approaching steps two and three of the reopening plan.
As of June 1, 63.4 per cent of eligible Albertans received at least one vaccination dose and 438 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19. There are 6,771 reported active cases.
The numbers meet step two’s requirements for reopening and restriction easing could start June 10 if hospitalizations are under 500 and falling, according to the province.
Under step two, indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports can resume with no restrictions; recreation centres can open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy; gyms and indoor fitness can open for solo and drop-in activities; and public outdoor gatherings can have to up 150 people with restrictions.
Under step three – two weeks after at least 70 per cent of eligible Albertans have had one dose – all restrictions are expected to be lifted.
“Albertans are responding to our call to get vaccinated, and we are seeing the results," said Minister of Health, Tyler Sandro in a press release. "We will continue to strike a safe balance between easing restrictions and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Get vaccinated as soon as possible and encourage others around you to get protected too.”