Here are the COVID-19 restrictions that lifted in Alberta today
Several public health measures have been lifted in Alberta today, with more COVID-19 restrictions to be removed in the coming weeks.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the changes, effective February 9, during a Tuesday evening press conference, alongside Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“It is clear we passed the peak of Omicron infections,” said Kenney, pointing to various countries lifting all or almost lifting all public health restrictions over the past weeks. “We see new COVID hospital admissions coming down, another important indicator,” he added.
“The threat of COVID-19 to public health no longer outweighs the damages of restrictions to our broader social health,” continued Kenney. “Now is the time to start learning to live with COVID. Alberta will move on, but we’ll do so carefully.”
Kenney then revealed that the province would introduce a three-step plan to begin the “return to normal.”
Step one of the plan includes removing the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP), Alberta’s version of a vaccine passport, and lifting masking requirements for children and youth. Step two, which will see further measures lifted, is set to begin on March 1, given that hospitalizations are trending downwards.
The timing of step three, which will see the removal of virtually all remaining public health measures, depends on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downward.
A complete list of the restrictions and public health measures lifted under each step is as follows.
- Restrictions Exemption Program removed, along with most associated restrictions
- Entertainment venues will continue to have some specific rules in place:
- Restrictions on closing times, alcohol service, table capacity in restaurants, and interactive activities will remain in force
- Restrictions on sale of food and beverages and consumption while seated in audience settings will be lifted
- For all businesses, venues, and facilities (whether they were previously eligible for the REP or not) capacity limits are removed, except for:
- Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000, which will be limited to 500
- Facilities with capacity of 1,000+, which will be limited to 50%
Coming into effect on February 14:
- Mandatory masking requirements removed for children age 12 and under in all settings, and in schools for children and youth of any age
Step 2 (coming into effect on March 1)
- Any remaining provincial school requirements removed
- Youth screening activities for entertainment and sports activities removed
- Capacity on all large venues and entertainment venues lifted
- Indoor and outdoor social gathering limits lifted
- Mandatory work-from-home requirements lifted
- Indoor masking is no longer required by the province
Step 3 (date to be determined based on hospital rates declining)
- COVID-specific measures in continuing care will be removed
- Mandatory isolation becomes a recommendation only
Learn more about the steps to lift COVID-19 restrictions on the Government of Alberta website.
Alberta reported 1,667 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, putting the number of active infections in the province at 28,265.
There are 1,623 people in hospital with the virus, including 129 people in intensive care. Alberta’s COVID-19 death toll sits at 3,686.