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Premier Jason Kenney rolled out Alberta’s reopening strategy Wednesday, a rapid three-stage process that could see virtually all COVID-19 public health measures removed by the end of June. The relaunch plan, labelled “Open for Summer” by the provincial government, is primarily tied to vaccination rates. Hospitalizations due to COVID also factor in to the first two stages, which Kenney said reflects a “cautious” approach. The about-face came just three weeks after sweeping restrictions returned yet again to combat the third wave of the pandemic. The premier urged people to help “stop the spike” as, at one point, Alberta had the highest COVID case rate in North America. But since then, Albertans have rolled up their sleeves to smash records, with upwards of 2.5 million vaccines administered. Active COVID cases have dropped dramatically: 390 Albertans tested positive Wednesday, and there are currently 10,953 active cases across the province, down from a peak of more than 25,000. “We could be fully open in just a little over a month,” Kenney said. Some municipalities, including Calgary, have their own bylaws that require face coverings in indoor public spaces. Calgary’s temporary mask rules have been approved to stay in place until December, but city council can decide to get rid of them at any time. Officials previously said that the most likely trigger to recommend removing it would be an effective vaccine “with sufficient levels of uptake.”

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