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Premier to consider ‘local circumstances’ to determine what sections of Alberta can open May 14

FILE PHOTO. (iStock Photo)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta will need to look at “local circumstances” when it comes to reopening the economy across the province.

Alberta is one week away from the first phase of its relaunch plan, but it’s not all parts of the province will be able to resume operations because they will need more time to prepare.

“We will be looking through a local lens at how quickly we reopen aspects of the economy to ensure that we are doing it very prudently,” the premier said Thursday.

“It’s obviously unlikely that we would move forward at the same level, same speed in places like High [River] and Brooks, as most of the province.”

Case numbers of COVID-19 vary across the province most notably between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton where the Calgary Zone holds 4,044 cases while Edmonton has 505 infections.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday he hasn’t received as much information on the relaunch guidelines as he would like with the premier telling him more details are coming.

“We need to know what targets are in place for them to determine whether May 14 is a go and whether we would go to future stages, exactly what numbers would be looking for in what criteria,” Nenshi said.

More precise timelines for the first phase of the relaunch will be discussed at the emergency management committee of cabinet on Monday.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says their messaging has shifted from the ‘stay home’ message many Albertans have been focusing on the last few months to a ‘stay safe’ message.

“We already know with weather getting nicer people have been, and should be, outside enjoying the nice weather and the outdoors,” she said.

“I guess the message we’re sending to people is that there are some additional opportunities for people to get services, some additional opportunities for recreation and it’s OK to go out, cautiously.”

Hinshaw still recommends older people, particularly those over 75, with chronic medical conditions to remain cautious and look into the places they want to go once more businesses start opening back up.

She also emphasized that people who are feeling unwell in any way should not be going outside and go online to use the self-assessment tool or call 8-1-1 to arrange for testing to make sure not to prevent a further spread of COVID-19.