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'Worst of COVID-19 is behind us': COVID-19 restrictions lifted in Alberta lifted March 1


Alberta has lifted most pandemic health measures, including mandatory masking in the majority of public spaces.

Face coverings are still required when taking public transit and while inside Alberta Health Services facilities, including hospitals and long-term care centres.

For taxis and ride-share vehicles like Uber, masks are no longer mandatory.

Small business owner Reid Heskes, who owns Two Giraffes Children’s Footwear in Willow Park, says he has already seen a shift in mentality from customers. 

“I think the customer experience is definitely going to be heightened for everyone not having to wear a mask now, (and it is) easier for the kids,” he said. 

“Hopefully all the small business in Calgary have survived and looking forward to thriving now.”

Health minister Jason Copping says Alberta is making its way to an endemic approach. 

“Some of us are ready to be out in the public without masks, but others may need a bit more time,” he said. 

“It is important that we are respectful of the choices individuals make.”

Some transit riders in Calgary say they're cautiously optimistic about the province's decision to keep requirements for public transit.

"I think that we need to start moving back and integrating this into our everyday life. It's a little soon for my personal comfort," said Kristen Wiggins. 

"I think it's positive. I'm glad they'll be keeping it in place and I will be wearing my mask on public transit."

Most transit riders that spoke to CTV News on Tuesday say they have no problem wearing a mask on buses and trains.

"If that's just one small thing that we need to do right now, I'd rather that and allow us to open everything else," said Albert Banahene.

The decision to lift the mask mandate for most indoor settings falls under Step 2 of the province's plan to move away from public health measures, which Premier Jason Kenney announced on the weekend.

"All signs here and across the world suggest the worst of COVID-19 is behind us," Kenney said.

"The pressure on our health-care system is easing."

Step 2 also includes lifting capacity limits for large venues and the end of health measures in schools, like the cohort system for kindergarten through Grade 6.

Alberta's mandatory work-from-home order has also been rescinded, liquor and food services have returned to regular hours and there is no longer a limit on social gatherings.

Dr. Darren Markland, and ICU physician in Edmonton says the province is creeping into territory that could lead to devastating consequences. 

“It’s the beginning of a very big shift in mentality and I think its one we’re not quite ready for,” said Markland. 

Markland suggests the province could repeat the same history of falling into a deadly trap, like it did following the fourth wave. 

Unless hospital capacity and resources are expanded, he fear’s the worst. 

“I think it’s going to take at least five or six years to settle it down, to a point where we can truly call it an endemic,” said Markland. 

The most recent data from the province was released Monday, showing 1,225 people in hospital in Alberta are COVID-19 positive, 80 of whom are in intensive care.

A technical issue prevented data from being released Tuesday, the province said. Top Stories

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