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Alberta ends almost all COVID-19 restrictions

Ontario has also ended most of its COVID-related public health mandates
Waitress Kirsten Craig wears a mask while carrying drinks for guests inside the Blu Martini restaurant in Kingston, Ont., on July 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Alberta has lifted almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions and Premier Jason Kenney says his government will propose a bill to ensure rules are consistent across the province.

Kenney says his government will quickly introduce legislation to amend the Municipal Government Act that would stop municipalities from imposing their own public health measures.

He says it’s critical rules be clear and consistent as the government moves to treating the COVID-19 virus as endemic in the population.

The province has lifted capacity restrictions and mandatory indoor masking in public places. Face covering will still be required in critical areas, including hospitals, and on public transit.

The City of Edmonton, however, is planning to keep its indoor mask mandate for at least another week.

The province has also ended any remaining school measures, youth screening for entertainment and sports activities, any remaining restrictions on liquor service at bars and restaurants and mandatory work from home orders.

The province began lifting public health measures two weeks ago when it cancelled its vaccine passport.

Premier Jason Kenney has said the province will keep a close eye on COVID-19 numbers, but has said declining numbers coupled with strong vaccination rates have allowed the changes to go ahead.

Meanwhile, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required at most Ontario restaurants, gyms and movie theatres, while nightclubs, sporting and concert venues can get rid of capacity limits and restrictions lift on social gathering sizes.

Ontario has ended most of its major COVID-19 public health measures today, though Premier Doug Ford has said mask mandates will likely be in place for at least a couple more weeks.

Ford says that the vaccine certificate system was always intended to be time-limited, and he is only now removing it due to the advice of the chief medical officer of health, but people should still exercise caution because the pandemic isn’t over.

Venues that still had capacity limits in place, including sports arenas, concert venues, theatres, nightclubs, and restaurants where there is dancing, can now scrap those restrictions.

As well, settings where capacity had been limited to the number of people who could maintain two metres of distance - including weddings and funerals, as well as retail shops, pharmacies and grocery stores - can eliminate that requirement.

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