EDMONTON -- When restaurants and other businesses reopen, as early as May 14, the chances of spreading COVID-19 will increase, despite measures to mitigate that risk.

Still, overall, the three-stage plan by the provincial government has the approval of Edmonton ICU doctor, Darren Markland.

“There will be an increased risk,” Dr. Markland told CTV News Edmonton. “But is it an acceptable risk? I think so.”

Dr. Markland does have some concerns, specifically around protection of the elderly, and how physical distancing will be practiced indoors, when restaurants and pubs reopen.

“You can’t eat with friends. That’s too close,” said Dr. Markland. “And who’s going to wear a mask while they’re eating?”

The premier addressed the risk concern at a press conference Thursday.

“What we need to do is manage the risk and and that's what our relaunch strategy is based on: gradual prudent steps to open up,” said Jason Kenney.

The plan also comes with safeguards. The province will monitor the pandemic, and has the power to hold off on moving forward on the three stages of reopening, or bring back heightened restrictions if necessary.