CALGARY -- In the coming days — or possibly even hours —  first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines will have been administered to 70 per cent of eligible Albertans, starting the two week countdown to Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan.

Under Stage 3, the province would have essentially no restrictions in place for businesses. It will be a major relief for thousands of companies who have struggled mightily over the past 15 months.

Stage 3 is slated to begin two weeks after the 70 per cent benchmark is crossed and will lift all bans or restrictions on indoor social gatherings.

In an effort to incentivize unvaccinated Albertans into receiving their first vaccine dose, the province announced travel packages are being added to the immunization lottery prize pool.

People with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will still have to follow isolation requirements, and the province will continue to track new cases. Some protections will remain in place for continuing care homes.

The province cautions that the plan could be paused depending on how the virus responds, and that a sustained reopening depends on everyone getting their second dose.