Alberta, Canada’s Oil Heartland, to Lift Most Covid Rules by July

Alberta, the province that produces most of Canada’s oil, expects to lift almost all Covid-19 restrictions by July as vaccinations pick up and infections decline.

Outdoor dining will be permitted in restaurants starting next week and hair salons will be allowed to book appointments, Premier Jason Kenney said in a press conference. By the middle of June, gyms will be allowed to reopen and restaurants will be able to serve people indoors.

Two weeks after 70% of the population receives a first dose of vaccine, almost all restrictions will be lifted. The province expects to hit that milestone around the end of June.

The hydrocarbon-rich province, which holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves, imposed strict lockdown measures earlier this month as its infection rate surged to one of the highest in Canada and the U.S.

Since then, the number of cases has plunged and hospitalizations have leveled off. The province’s average infection rate is 101 new daily cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days. That’s down from 325 cases earlier in May and is now second in Canada to Manitoba.

The reopening will allow Canadian Football League games to be held with fully packed stadiums and permit the annual Calgary Stampede, which was canceled last year, to go ahead without many restrictions, Kenney said.

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