Albertans now have a timeline for when public health restrictions will end.
Premier Jason Kenney began Tuesday's (Feb. 8) update by saying the COVID cabinet has approved new measures to "move along from a pandemic and get life back to normal."
"The last two years have taken a significant toll on Albertans' overall health, social and economic well-being," Kenney said.
"It's time to shift to a balanced approach where we are able to live with COVID-19 and return to normal."
Kenney added it's clear the province's peak of Omicron cases was around three weeks ago, and hospitalizations are declining.
He pointed to other countries lifting restrictions in recent days and included Saskatchewan's premier announcing mask mandates would end at the end of the month, and that vaccine passports will no longer be required as of Monday.
The province has unveiled a three-stage plan to lift restrictions, with step one taking effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.
Effective Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m.:
- Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) ends, along with most associated restrictions.
- Entertainment venues will continue to have some specific rules in place:
- Restrictions on sale of food and beverages and consumption while seated in audience settings will be removed.
- Restrictions on closing times, alcohol service, table capacity in restaurants and interactive activities will remain in force.
- For all businesses, venues and facilities – whether they were previously eligible for the REP or not – capacity limits are removed, except for:
- Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000, which will be limited to 500.
- Facilities with capacity of 1,000-plus, which will be limited to 50 per cent.
Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 13:
- Masks will no longer be required for all children and youth in schools.
- Masks will no longer be required in any setting for children aged 12 and under.
Effective March 1:
- Any remaining provincial school requirements (including cohorting) will be removed.
- Screening prior to youth activities will no longer be required.
- Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues.
- Limits on social gatherings will be removed.
- Provincial mask mandate will be removed.
- Mandatory work from home removed.
To be determined based on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downwards:
- COVID-specific measures in continuing care will be removed.
- Mandatory isolation becomes a recommendation only.
Currently, 1,623 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 129 in intensive care. The province reported 1,667 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday; there are 28,265 known active cases in Alberta.
Thirteen new deaths were reported in the last day, bringing the total to 3,686 since the start of the pandemic.
The province also announced that booster shots would be available to kids aged 12-17 who have additional risk factors.