CALGARY -- The second phase of the province’s relaunch will move ahead Friday, a week earlier than initially anticipated.

Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta’s COVID-19 numbers have been steady in the last two weeks and the gradual reopening can proceed safely.

“Albertans should be very proud of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The premier also says some activities originally planned to be part of Stage 3 will be allowed to open in Stage 2 with certain conditions. 

Among the activities allowed on Friday are team sports, indoor recreation and sports facilities (including arenas and pools), casinos, bingo halls and instrumental concerts.

Alberta initiated Stage 1 of its relaunch plan on May 14 with hair salons and retail allowed to reopen and restaurants allowed to serve dine-in customers. The opening of some of those services was delayed in Calgary and Brooks until May 25 due to the number of active COVID-19 cases in the two communities.

Under Stage 2, additional businesses will be allowed to reopen as long as two-metre physical distancing is observed, including:

  • Potential reopening of K-12 schools
  • Libraries
  • Additional surgeries
  • Health services like acupuncture and massage therapy
  • Personal services such as manicures, pedicures and tanning
  • Movie theatres and theatres

Calgary businesses have been preparing for the second stage of the relaunch and are excited to get the green light.

"We want to get back to work we want to see our friends, our communities our families," said Angela O’Donoghue, owner of Esme Beauty Bar.

O'Donoghue says staff at Esme Beauty Bar’s two Calgary locations will wear masks and protective face shields and capacity will be limited to 50 per cent.

"We want to make sure that everything is safe and all of our staff is prepared for the new procedures that have to happen."

Though libraries are able to open in Stage 2, not all Calgary Public Library locations will open on day one.  

"We’ll start opening some locations and then expanding out from there over a series of weeks," said Calgary Public Library CEO Mark Asberg.

Public programming will still be suspended at Calgary library branches and curb-side pickup will continue at all locations.

"You can’t really wipe down books with liquids because that would destroy them so they best practice is to quarantine books when they are returned. The recommendation is 72 hours," Asberg said.

Starting June 23, the library will reopen its Forest Lawn, Crowfoot and Fish Creek branches, all of which will have metered access, limited hours, and public health protocols in place, including limited capacity, hand sanitizing stations and physical distancing.

As of Monday afternoon, Alberta's active COVID-19 case count was 355 infections with 44 people in hospital.