Starting Monday, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people but indoor gatherings are still banned.
Personal wellness services like salons, barbershops, aesthetics, reflexology, tattoo and piercing shop will reopen January 18 on an appointment-only basis. Funeral ceremony attendance will be increased to 20 people, with mandatory masking and a two-metre physical distancing requirement.
There were 967 new cases of COVId-19 discovered along with 21 additional deaths.
There are now 806 Albertans in hospital struggling with the virus and 136 in ICU.
The Alberta government is easing public-health rules around funerals, outdoor gatherings and hair salons while warning residents to keep following other restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. We want to ensure the safety of Albertans, while balancing the uncertainty faced by Alberta businesses and service providers.
In early December, as COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, Premier Jason Kenney announced a strict lockdown similar to one in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic.
"We want to stop as a province going back and forth with tightening and then loosening the rules, and I'm sure that Albertans are exhausted of going back and forth themselves". Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. But, he said, the virus is still a real risk.
A school in Alberta won't be considered to have a COVID-19 outbreak until it has five or more confirmed cases.
"We've seen escalating case counts in other countries because of the infectiousness of these variants", he said, "and we must not move too quickly to open up restrictions".
The loosened restrictions come as the number of new cases in Alberta continues to be lower than a month ago.