Everything you need to know about Alberta's new COVID-19 measures

Sep 20 2021, 4:10 pm

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 the new restrictions along with a proof of vaccination program during a September 15 press conference.

Several public health measures went into effect on Thursday, September 16, while others began on Monday, September 20. Starting Monday, businesses and spaces such as restaurants, bars, and indoor organized events can choose to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Under this program, businesses can operate as usual with no restrictions, as long as they are serving only people who have proof of immunization or who have a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Vaccine-eligible individuals will be required to provide government-issued proof of vaccine, documentation of a medical exemption, or a negative COVID-19 test in order to access the participating social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province.

From September 20 to October 25, individuals can provide valid proof of a single dose of vaccine received two or more weeks before the time of service. Beginning October 26 and beyond, individuals must have proof of complete immunization, with the second dose received two weeks or more before the time of service.

Tests must be privately paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests completed within the past 72 hours, and they cannot be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

The following public health measures are now in effect for the businesses and events that are not participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Restaurants

  • Outdoor dining only with a maximum of six individuals per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone).
  • Liquor sales must end by 10 pm and consumption by 11 pm.
  • Restaurants are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Weddings and funerals

  • All indoor ceremonies and services are limited to 50 attendees or 50% fire code capacity, whichever is less.
  • No indoor receptions are permitted unless the hosting facility implements the Restrictions Exemption Program.
  • All outdoor ceremonies and services for weddings and funerals must be limited to 200 attendees. Outdoor receptions are required to follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (sales end at 10 pm and consumption ends by 11 pm).
  • Hosting facilities are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Retail, entertainment, and recreation facilities

  • Includes any indoor venues, libraries, conferences, rental spaces, concerts, nightclubs, casinos, and similar.
  • Attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity, and attendees are only permitted to attend with their household (or two close contacts for those living alone). Attendees must be masked and have two-metre physical distancing between households.
  • These facilities are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Adult sport, fitness, performance, and recreation

  • Indoor activities:
    • No indoor group classes or activities are permitted.
    • One-on-one training or individual workouts are permitted, but three-metre physical distancing is required.
    • No contact between players; indoor competitions are paused except where vaccine exemptions have been granted.
    • These facilities and programs are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program. Specific exemptions may also be granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

Retail, shopping malls, and food courts

  • Capacity restricted to one-third fire code occupancy.
  • Attendees must be with household members only or two close contacts if they live alone.
  • Indoor food courts must close in-person dining. Take-out is allowed.
  • Not eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program as public access is necessary for daily living.

A list of the restrictions that were put into place on September 16 include:

Workplaces

  • Mandatory work-from-home measures are in place unless the employer has determined a physical presence is required for operational effectiveness.

Private social gatherings

  • Indoor private gatherings for vaccine-eligible, fully vaccinated individuals are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 people, with no restrictions on children under the age of 12.
  • Attendance at any indoor private social gathering is not permitted for vaccine-eligible individuals who are unvaccinated.
  • Outdoor private social gatherings are permitted to a maximum of 200 people, with two-metre physical distancing maintained at all times.

Places of worship

  • Places of worship must limit attendance to one-third fire code capacity.
  • Face masks will be mandatory, and there must be two-metre physical distancing between households (or two close contacts for those living alone).

Outdoor events and facilities with no indoor portion (excluding washrooms)

  • No attendance restrictions; however, two-metre physical distancing must be in place.

Schools (Kindergarten to Grade 12)

  • Mandatory masking for students in grades four and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades. Schools that can implement an alternate COVID-19 safety plan can be exempted from mandatory masking.
  • Elementary schools are to implement class cohorts.
  • For physical activities in schools:
    • Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain a two-metre distance when engaged in physical activity.
    • There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
    • Indoor sports/performance/recreation/special interest activities are permitted with requirements for two-metre physical distancing, where possible.

Children’s sport/performance/recreation

  • Indoor activities are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking where possible and symptom screening for participants.
  • Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain physical distancing during physical activity, such as a team sport.
  • Spectator attendance is limited to one-third of fire code capacity. Attendees must be masked and ensure physical distancing between different households or an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts.
  • There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

Children’s activities

  • Children’s day camps must have two-metre physical distancing between participants and masking indoors.                                                    
  • Children’s overnight camps must follow cohort models.
Elle McLeanElle McLean

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