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Welcome to Stage 2, Alberta

The move comes two weeks after 60% of Albertans age 12-plus received at least one dose of vaccine and with COVID-19 hospitalizations well below 500 and still falling.

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It’s a day many Albertans have been waiting for, as the province enters Stage 2 of the government’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The move comes two weeks after 60% of Albertans age 12-plus received at least one dose of vaccine and with COVID-19 hospitalizations well below 500 and still falling.

“With more than 67% of eligible Albertans vaccinated with a first dose, a fully reopened Alberta is within our sight. We are putting the worst of this pandemic behind us for good and moving into a bright summer and an even brighter future. If you haven’t booked your appointment yet, please arrange to get your first dose today so we can be fully open for summer,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a statement.

As of Thursday the new rules are:

  • Outdoor social gatherings increase to 20 people, with distancing.
  • Indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees. Receptions are permitted outdoors.
  • Indoor and outdoor funeral services remain unchanged with up to 20 people permitted. Receptions are permitted outdoors.
  • Restaurants may seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors.
    • Dining parties are no longer restricted to households only.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
  • Capacity for places of worship increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
  • Gyms and other indoor fitness facilities open for solo and drop-in activities with three-metre distancing between participants and fitness classes may resume with three-metre distancing.
  • Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres. This includes arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.
  • Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports resume.
  • Youth activities, such as day camps, overnight camps and play centres, may resume.
  • Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services.
  • Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person learning.
  • The work-from-home order is lifted but still recommended.
  • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (e.g., grandstands) can open with one-third seated capacity.
  • Public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people (e.g., concerts/festivals).

Indoor masking regulations will remain in place the next two weeks, at least.

Stage 3 is expected to begin in late June or early July.

The City of Calgary announced it would re-open public recreation facilities beginning Monday, June 14. Participation at the facilities will be available by appointment, with limited capacity.

To book a workout or swim time, visit www.calgary.ca/liveandplay starting June 10 at noon.

On June 14, the following Calgary facilities will re-open:

  • Aquatic and fitness facilities:
    • Canyon Meadows Aquatic & Fitness Centre
    • Glenmore Aquatic Centre
    • Inglewood Aquatic Centre
    • Killarney Aquatic & Recreation Centre
    • Sir Winston Churchill Aquatic & Recreation Centre
    • Thornhill Aquatic & Recreation Centre

Two additional aquatic and fitness facilities will follow on June 21:

  • Bob Bahan Aquatic & Fitness Centre
  • Renfrew Aquatic & Recreation Centre
     
  • Arenas:
    • Father David Bauer and Norma Bush arenas (two ice sheets)
    • Optimist & George Blundun arenas (two dry pads) 
    • Shouldice (one dry pad)
    • Stew Hendry & Henry Viney arenas (two ice sheets)
    • Southland Leisure Centre (two ice sheets)
  • Athletic Parks:
    • Tom Brook Athletic Park
    • Renfrew Athletic Park.
    • Foothills Athletic Park (Open as of June 1)
    • Glenmore Athletic Park (Open as of June 1)
    • New Brighton Athletic Park (Open as of June 1)
    • Optimist Athletic Park (Open as of June 1)
    • Shouldice Athletic Park (Open as of June 1)
  • Calgary Soccer Centre (eight indoor and three outdoor artificial turf fields)
  • Glenmore Sailing School (for sailboat, canoes & kayak rentals)

On June 19, weather dependent, the City will also re-open seven outdoor spray parks and wading pools with limited capacity in alignment with Stage 2:

  • Five Spray Parks:
    • West Confederation Park 
    • Prairie Winds Park 
    • Rotary Park 
    • South Glenmore Park (Variety Park)
    • Valleyview Park 
  • Two Wading Pools:
    • Bowness Park
    • Prairie Winds Park 

Additional facilities will re-open in a phased approach, based on a number of factors including hiring and certifying staff and customer use.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Edmonton anchor fuming after pride flag ripped down

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

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An Edmonton news anchor is furious after a Pride flag was ripped down from its pole outside her home.

“I am LIVID right now,” tweeted Breanna Karstens-Smith, a Global anchor.

Karstens-Smith

“This just happened at my house. Someone came and tore down our Pride flag. No one touched it for a year when it was a Canada flag but now that it’s for pride this happens.

“THIS IS WHY WE NEED PRIDE MONTH.”

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

Pride flag torn down

“And they are greatly mistaken if they think we’re not putting another one up. Ordering a new flag pole now. Flag is thankfully fine but we got it from @thequiltbagyeg and would love to see more in our city,” she tweeted.

“Our flag is back up and our house feels right again. Thank you for the kind messages of support. The best part is hearing from people now putting up their own flags. I’d love to see photos of them. Happy Pride.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Regina chamber CEO calls COVID-19 protesters ‘narrow, dimwitted, racist’

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy,” said John Hopkins.

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Regina Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins denounced COVID-19 protesters and their message in an email sent to the organization’s members.

“The anti-mask group in Regina are a very small but loud group. They have been protesting for months. They believe that they have a right to not wear a mask,” Hopkins wrote.

“Some are of the view that there are tracking devices in the masks and still others believe that this is a global conspiracy.

“…the anti-maskers have crossed the line. They have been harassing business owners, people on the street and now their latest target, kids at schools. In my opinion targeting kids is too far, way too far.

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy. They certainly have the right to say what they want but the same rights and privileges extend to the rest of us….

“Racism is a vicious challenge that we need to address as a country, province and community. The time has come to act and stand up.”

The Western Standard asked Hopkins what harassment had occurred in Regina.

“There’s a candy shop on 13th Avenue,” Hopkins said.

“The business owner asked them to put on a mask and they refused and business owner refused to serve them.”

The incident from May 26 was watched almost 30,000 times on a YouTube video. The would-be customers were standing outside on the deck of the business across from the serving window.

“There has been some altercations between anti maskers and other people, actually on the street, I believe on Albert Street,” Hopkins said.

“And throughout the course of the last 14 months on, generally speaking, it’s just been people on the side of the street.”

Hopkins’ accusation of racism concerned comments made about Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“There were some very troubling remarks about Dr. Shahab that the premier addressed. We were quite concerned about that… as well as other sort of comments on telling people to go home and that type of thing on some of the signs.”

At a December 14 press conference, Premier Moe said the “end was in sight” for COVID-19 restrictions, but he was “embarassed” at “racist”,”foolish”, and “idiotic” comments made by a protester at the legislature. In a video posted days before, a man tried to say Shahab’s name a few times unsuccessfully before commenting, “can’t get these foreigners’ names right.”

Regarding students, Hopkins said, “I’ve heard that they were at a school and that they were talking to kids at a school this past week….and parking in the school parking lot….I just think going to the school is a bit much.”

Hopkins said masks help.

“It blows my mind that somehow when the Chief Medical Officer – not only one, but many across the country, and in fact, globally – are saying, wear a mask, I think it’s pretty straightforward wearing a mask is one of the things that can help people stay safe…Even though we’re making headway against the virus, it’s still out there that masks aren’t doing anything. And I find it just bizarre.”

The email was posted on the Freedom Alliance Facebook page by Kevin Volk.

“Check out this crap that was sent to me,” Volk wrote, urging people to phone the chamber to express their displeasure.

Volk told the Western Standard he had a cleaning business and had been a chamber member “for well over ten years.”

“This is just another slap in the face for business owners. The chamber has been pushing for businesses to remain closed even tho they are supposed to help businesses. They have done absolutely nothing for small businesses owners,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canadians hit with millions of dollars of COVID fines

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

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The feds have issued tickets for close to $3 million for COVID-19 scofflaws who have refused to quarantine at hotels after arriving back in the country, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Other tickets handed out include fines for fraudulent COVID-19 test results.

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

“I think it is important that we adhere to the public health advice that we are all getting, that we do our part as Canadians to try and protect our health care system,” Health Minister Patricia Hajdu earlier told reporters.

Records show a total 988 air passengers were each ticketed $3,000 for “refusing to go to government-approved accommodation” on arrival in Canada. The majority of tickets, 621, were issued at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport followed by Vancouver (194 tickets) and Montréal (173).

Cabinet on January 7 passed an order requiring all air travelers to prove they were COVID-19-free with tests taken a maximum 72 hours prior to arrival. An identical order for cross-border drivers was invoked February 22.

The Canada Border Services Agency found 62 travelers with fake tests, said the report, and four were each ticketed $3,000.

Another 9,003 travelers were cited for not having proof of a valid test, including 4,583 drivers and 4,420 air passengers.

“This would include individuals who did not test at all, who were in possession of tests outside the required 72-hour time frame, tests that did not originate from the required country of origin, tests that are suspected fraudulent and other reasons,” wrote staff.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair defended the enforcement.

“Cancel your vacation plans,” Blair told reporters February 12.

“Stay home. Respect the rules. We believe that through these effective measures, appropriate screening and the testing measures in particular that we have put in place coupled with robust and enforced quarantine orders, it is the best way to prevent variants from spreading across our borders into Canada.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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No Media Bailouts

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