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This entry is part 42 of 45 in the series COVID-19.

Last week Alberta announced that as of July 1 the province will move into Step 3 of its Open for Summer Plan. That means that “all restrictions [will be] lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings” and “the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted.”

In his announcement, the Premier described it as a “happy day” as he delivered great news that Alberta was “just two weeks away from getting our lives back to normal. This is an important milestone and a great achievement, but we will not stop here. We will keep administering first and second doses as quickly as possible so we’re not just open for summer, but open for good.”

Worship services can resume without capacity limits of only 15% or 1/3, family gatherings can resume, bible studies and youth retreats can resume. This is exciting and welcome news!

The province is moving forward since it has reached its Step 3 vaccination thresholds. In its reopening announcement, the government noted that:

  • 70.2% of eligible Albertans have received their first dose
  • Over 25% of eligible Albertans have received two doses

For comparison, Ontario (as of June 17) has reached the following thresholds:

  • Over 75% of eligible adults have received their first dose
  • Over 19% of eligible adults have received two doses

Ontario remains at Step 1, with personal care services prohibited, no indoor social gatherings, places of worship limited to 15% (or unlimited outdoor, subject to physical distancing), no indoor dining, and household-only outdoor dining, excepting single-person households.

Ontario’s Step 1 threshold was 60% of adults with one dose. Ontario’s Step 2 threshold is 70% of adults with one dose and 20% fully vaccinated. Step 3 is 70-80% of adults with one dose and 25% fully vaccinated.

Unlike Alberta, Ontario’s plan provides no end point. There is no indication as to when all restrictions will be lifted, or specifics about what will be permitted under Step 3. The terminology used is “larger” gatherings, dining with capacity “and other restrictions,” personal care with limited capacity “and other restrictions.” Everything that is permitted will be “with restrictions” and, unlike other provinces, there is no indication if or when Ontario will remove face covering mandates.

For further comparison, British Columbia (as of June 18) has reached the following thresholds:

  • 76.7% of eligible adults received their first dose
  • 823,371 second doses have been administered

Under BC’s Restart Plan, it can move to Step 3 by July 1 if at least 70% of the 18+ population has received one dose, along with low case counts and declining hospitalizations. At Step 3 in BC, it is a “return to usual for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings,” there is no limit for indoor or outdoor dining, all indoor fitness classes are allowed at usual capacity, and masks will not be required, only recommended.  Religious worship services, which are usually included in the category of “organized gatherings” will have unspecified “increased capacity” if protocols are followed.

Step 4 has an anticipated start date of September 7, with the same threshold considerations as Step 3 (70% adults with one dose, low cases, declining hospitalizations).. At that time there will be “normal social contact,” masks will be solely a personal choice, workplaces “fully reopened,” “normal sport competitions with updated COVID-19 Safety Plans,” and for organized gatherings (e.g. worship services) the plan simply says “increased capacity at large organized gatherings.”

For details and links on where each province and territory is in its 2021 reopening plan, you can view this chart:

Series Navigation<< Ontario Allows Worship Services to ResumeBC Eliminates Restrictions on Religious Gatherings >>

Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.

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