Golf courses to open with restrictions, province also allows camping
CALGARY -- The provincial government says because Albertans have "acted responsibly" over the past weeks of the pandemic, it is moving ahead with a strategy to get things back to normal.
Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement during Thursday's daily update.
The relaunch strategy will take place across three phases, with the first phase including a gradual reopening of outdoor activities for Albertans that includes access to provincial parks and reopening golf courses.
Beginning Friday, the province says it will be allowing vehicles into parking lots and staging areas in parks and public lands.
A number of boat launches will also be opened Friday, with the remainder expected to be open by May 14.
When it comes to camping, the government says it is working hard to reopen as many provincial parks as possible by June 1, but reservations will be open to Albertans only.
However, there will still be some restrictions in place.
Group and comfort camping is not available at this time and washrooms are also still closed. Garbage pickup in provincial parks is also not being done.
Fire bans in Alberta are also still in effect.
The provincial government says the first phase of reopening will also include private and municipal campgrounds, provided they can implement physical distancing restrictions.
"I would remind outdoor enthusiasts that while there are no off highway vehicle restrictions currently in place, we ask people to be responsible. And we'll be monitoring closely should the risk for wildfires increase for our relaunch strategy to succeed Albertans must be confident in their ability to go out and visit these businesses and services safely," Kenney said.
Golf courses are being allowed to open as early as this weekend, Kenney said, but clubhouses, pro shops, on-site shops and restaurants are still closed. The latter two types of businesses will be allowed to open in phase two.
However, Kenney added that even returning to normal will be an obstacle.
"Our challenge now is to begin returning to a more normal life. A full return to normal won't come until there's an effective vaccine or treatment, or until the virus is no longer there to threaten us. But until then, we'll all have to remain vigilant."