As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Alberta, the provincial government has introduced a number of public health measures in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced a proof of vaccination program along with new restrictions during a Wednesday evening press conference.
“The new proof of vaccination requirements will make us all safer,” said Minister Shandro in a news release from the Alberta Government.
“This will help increase vaccination rates across the province and protect Albertans in settings that pose a higher risk of transmission,” he continued. “We’ve seen from other jurisdictions that proof of vaccinations do help encourage people to get vaccinated, and I am calling on every eligible Albertan to get fully immunized as soon as possible.”
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Along with a number of restrictions that came into effect on Thursday, September 16, the province is introducing further measures on Monday, September 20, at which point discretionary events and businesses must follow one of two options.
Events and businesses can implement the province’s new Restrictions Exemption Program, which requires proof of vaccination, documentation of a medical exemption, or a negative rapid COVID-19 test result from patrons in order to continue operating as usual, with no restrictions.
Alternatively, places that choose not to participate in the program must follow capacity and operating restrictions as outlined on the Government of Alberta’s website. These restrictions include not allowing indoor dining at restaurants and bars, limiting capacity at various venues, not permitting indoor group classes and activities, and more.
To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people age 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or documentation of a medical exemption.
From September 20 to October 25, proof of a single dose is considered acceptable as long as the dose was given more than 2 weeks before the time of service. After October 25, proof of double vaccination is required.
For those who are unvaccinated, people aged 12 and older can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
Tests must be privately paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests completed within the past 72 hours and cannot be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
The Restriction Exemption Program doesn’t apply to businesses, locations, or services that need to be accessed for daily living, employees of businesses participating in the program, and children under 12.
Businesses do not need to apply for the program. Audits and enforcement will occur to ensure rules are followed.