With the easing of restrictions it is important that we continue to be diligent in maintaining some of that caution that we have been observing in the last few months. With people returning to work and businesses opening up there will be a higher risk of infection which is why some are worried about a second wave of COVID-19. There is also a risk that COVID-19 could be something that is seasonal and as such we could see a second resurgence of cases between September to November similar to the pattern we see with influenza. We have been lucky in Edmonton as we did not have a lot of cases and the measures that we had in place were effective in keeping the number of cases low. With due diligence we have slowly begun the process of returning back to work. That being said it is important to continue to maintain our social distances and rely on routine when it comes to sanitization.
I know my perception has definitely changed in regards to my own health as well as the health of others. Before I had the attitude that even if I was sick I would try my best to go to work. It was due to an attitude to not let my team down as well as an ill conceived notion of the right thing to do was to push through it. But with the events of COVID-19 they have definitely revealed and changed my attitudes. I have a new appreciation for having a routine to keeping my hands clean and sanitizing my work spaces both at home and at work. It is important for my health and also the health of my patients and community. It comes down to doing our best to protect our community especially considering those that are most vulnerable.
We have just completed Phase 1 of easing our restrictions with Retails shops, restaurants, barber shops, hair salons, farmer markets and places of worship opened with some restrictions such as 50% capacity. Over last weekend I went to the italian restaurant in Windermere called Buco where they did an excellent job in Social distancing. When you first arrive they do take your name and phone number as a precaution. In case there is a positive case of someone who ate at their restaurant they are obligated to inform anyone who may have been at the restaurant that day. The tables were well spread far apart and you did not feel like anyone was crowding your space. You could see that the staff were quite diligent in ensuring that the tables and surfaces were regularly cleaned. I felt quite safe and the food was also delicious!
Alberta’s next stage of reopening will occur starting June12th with reopening of Movie theatres and spas and services such as manicures, pedicures as well as massages. Originally this was going to be June 19th but that date has been moved up. There will also be an allowance for social gatherings up to 50 people for events such as weddings and funeral receptions that are held indoors. For any events that are held outdoors there will be a maximum of 100 people allowed. The 50% Restrictions on occupancy for restaurants will also be removed and now will have the restriction of not more than 6 people to a table.
In a surprise announcement it was also revealed that gyms and sport facilities will be also allowed to open early as well. This was originally a Phase 3 initiative. They will open back up but it will be with certain restrictions. There will have to be a screening process to ensure that to ensure that none of the patrons have symptoms of COVID-19 or are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to international travel or have been in close contact with someone else who may have had symptoms of COVID-19. Hand sanitizers will be required at entry and exit points for gym users. Physical distancing will continue to be encouraged between gym members. Pools will also be reopened as well with maximum limits of 100 people. Although gyms and sport facilities can start opening again on friday it may take longer for larger venues such as city of edmonton recreational centers to open up again as there are a lot more things to evaluate in regards to logistics considering how many people they used to accommodate on a daily basis prior to the pandemic.
The green light has also been given to movie theatres and live shows to open up again but again it may take longer for some of these larger establishments to open up completely. They will have to ensure that the theatre is fully cleaned between shows and there will have to be ample space between seating in the theatre as well. They are right now planning on using every other row leaving the other rows empty. As well there will be social distancing in regards to movie goers who are sitting in the same row. It may still be a few weeks away as it will take some time to train their staff and have policies and procedures in place that are intuitive for everyone to use.
I am definitely excited to go and meet with friends and family and enjoy the beautiful summer we have had so far. While enjoying our summer it is important to continue to be diligent in regards to social distancing to minimize risk to you and others. It is also a good idea to spend more time outdoors as the open spaces allow everyone room to breathe and less risk of an infection compared to indoor spaces. I hope I get to run into you out and about in the community. Feel free to say hi if you do see me! It will be great to be part of civilization again as it feels like we have been in the stone ages lately. We will eventually move past this. One step at a time.