Restaurants in Alberta not likely to reopen in May: Premier Kenney

CALGARY — Albertans will not be dining inside restaurants anytime soon, and it’s not clear when that will happen, but the province says it is in its early stages of developing an updated reopening plan.

“I don’t think it’s realistic that people will be eating in restaurants at the end of May,” Premier Jason Kenney said during the regular COVID-19 update on Tuesday.

“I do, however, hope that if we end the spike, start to bend down the curve that we could relax many or most of the measures we put in place three weeks ago.”

Kenney says the Emergency Management Committee of Cabinet tasked the Alberta Health with looking into proposals, part of which would track vaccinations.

“I specifically asked that we look closely at Saskatchewan’s model,” said Kenney. “It looks quite interesting.”

Saskatchewan’s three-step plan to gradually reopen is largely based on the percentage of vaccinated residents, along with vaccine availability and the public continuing to follow health orders.

Step 1 can begin once three weeks have passed after 70 per cent of people age 40 and over have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Saskatchewan cleared this hurdle this week, and will move into the phase on May 30.

As of Tuesday, Kenney said nearly 45 per cent of Albertans age 16 and older are now protected with at least one dose of vaccine. However, the premier says before rules can be relaxed, the focus right now is getting through the remainder of May to push down the spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I think we’re looking at probably another 800,000 people that will be vaccinated and then by the end of this month,” he said. “So, we’re getting there and I think that will be one of the major considerations in the plan for reopening.”

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