The world has drastically changed in the past few months. Covid 19 has taken over and changed our lives in immeasurable ways. As we witnessed the months progress in the early 2020, we saw new milestones reached and unprecedented changes introduced. From what started as a distant issue, seemingly out of reach and outside the scope of possibilities, became every Albertan’s new reality. And now as we embark onto the next season, the summer heat brings forth a different type of challenge. Albertans everywhere prepare for the summer months marching forward to the new norm.
The current strongest protection available is social distancing. Videos in social media showing the science of social distancing and its implementation in history have circulated in millions. Politicians , experts and celebrities have advocated for social distancing to be observed. Public spaces and private businesses have required it. Many citizens demand them. Law makers define them. Authorities enforce them. Social distance is here to greet us in the new norm!
Masking has been a contentious topic. Photographed masked citizens have become the symbol of our Covid era. Topics of debate range from the types of mask to the levels of effectiveness. The opinions on masking are endless. Regardless of the diversity in stance, one cohesive agreement amongst Albertans comes through - mask is a necessity in the new norm.
The practice of hand washing has come to the forefront and has been heralded as one of the first lines of defense. The act itself does not stop at a simple splash of water. Hand washing on Covid demands a good technique, with at least 4o seconds of rubbing, to strategically targeted areas, removing opportunistic bugs. This is something taught in children, ingrained in everyday life and now strictly reinforced in this new norm.
As we go through the weeks, changes will continue and information will be released from many different sources. A recommended source of truth would be the Government of Canada and from the officials in our province of Alberta. They will continue to keep us abreast of the situation and provide information relevant to our day to day life. Their direction will guide us while our cooperation will shape how we progress through the many months ahead.
This May 2020, the transition planning has been revealed with stage 1 outlined.
“Stage 1 allows some businesses to resume operations starting May 14 with enhanced infection prevention and controls in place"
Business operators can determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance for workplaces is met.
Mask use is strongly recommended in crowded public spaces, like mass transit, that do not allow for physical distancing of 2 metres apart.
Retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores.
All farmers' market vendors.
Hairstyling and barber shops.
Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for table service at 50% capacity.
Some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to resume gradually.
Museums and art galleries.
Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
Day camps, including summer school, with occupancy limits.
Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, with flexibility for in-person delivery once the existing public health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.
Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow sector-specific guidance.
Dog parks and playgrounds, unless restricted by municipal authorities.
Gatherings of more than 15 people indoors or more than 50 people outdoors is not permitted, unless otherwise identified in public health orders or guidance, such as workplaces, places of worship or in restaurants.
Gatherings under these limits must follow physical distancing and other guidance.
Public attendance at businesses, facilities and events that have close physical contact is not permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
Movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.
Visiting patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students will remain prohibited.
Travel outside the province is not recommended.
Remote working is advised where possible.
Download the ABTraceTogether mobile contact tracing app and use it when in public.