EDMONTON -- Albertans will be able to visit hair salons and tattoo parlours today as the province relaxes a few of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Starting today, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only.

Outdoor social gatherings, which were previously banned, will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people.

And the limit on the number of people who can attend funerals is increasing to 20, although receptions are still prohibited.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said last week that Alberta can't entirely ease up, but that it can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities.

Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said that easing rules now will act as a test case, and that COVID-19 case numbers will have to be lower before any other restrictions are loosened.

Since early December when COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, outdoor gatherings were banned and restaurants and bars were limited to delivery and takeout. Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. Retail stores and churches were allowed to open but at 15 per cent capacity.

Alberta reported 750 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 19 more deaths.

Hinshaw said officials looked at the province's COVID-19 data along with research from other parts of the world, and she said funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal service businesses show a lower level of risk for transmission.

Shandro said last week that hospitalizations and case numbers remain high and pose a threat to the province's health system capacity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.