Undoubtedly in response to the trucker protests, Alberta and Saskatchewan premiers announced plans to end all COVID mandates in phases.
Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced on Tuesday that the province would be phasing out COVID restrictions effective immediately, with vaccine passports among the first to be ditched.
On Wednesday, Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced that the province’s COVID Cabinet Committee had approved a “careful and prudent plan to remove Alberta’s public health restrictions, and move on from a widespread pandemic response to get our lives back to normal.”
The vaccine passport program will reportedly end at midnight tonight.
According to the Alberta government’s website, the first step of the plan includes the ending of the “Restrictions Exemption Program,” which required people to show their vaccine passes. Mask requirements for children under 12 in all settings and all children in schools will also be done away with on February 14.
Step 2 is scheduled for March 1, but will only go into effect “if hospitalizations are trending downwards,” indoor masking requirements for all ages, as well as capacity limits on events and gatherings, will end. Any remaining school requirements will also be removed.
Step 3 includes the removal of mandatory isolation requirements, and “COVID-specific continuing care measures.”
Saskatchewan announced a plan to lift all of its COVID-19 restrictions. Starting Monday, Feb. 14, Saskatchewan will no longer require COVID-19 vaccine passports. It is also ending its indoor mask mandate at the end of the month.
Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday that providing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter businesses as restaurants had helped in the fight against the spread of the virus.
But he said it also created deep divisions in the province — in effect “two classes of citizens.”
“The benefits of this policy no longer outweigh the costs,” Moe said, adding people should be able to choose whether they get vaccinated or not.
“This government is going to respect that right.”
eHealth Saskatchewan will continue to make proof of vaccination records and QR codes available to Saskatchewan residents for use where needed including for travel or in other jurisdictions.
Moe said it’s time to take the next step in living with Covid-19 and getting lives back to normal.
“The benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It’s time to heal the divisions over-vaccination in our families, in our communities, and in our province. It’s time for proof of vaccination requirements to end.”