Province declares State of public health emergency; announces new public health restrictions.

Photo courtesy of Pexel
By Tawnya Plain Eagle


Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, largely in unvaccinated Albertans. New measures to protect the health care system, stop the spread, and increase vaccination rates come into effect starting September 16.

Getting vaccinated makes us all safer. A one-time incentive of $100 is available for Albertans 18+ who get their first or second dose between September 3 and October 14.

Starting September 20, discretionary events and businesses must follow one of these 2 options:

  1. Implement the Restrictions Exemption Program requiring proof of vaccination or negative rapid test result to continue operating as usual, or
  2. Follow capacity and operating restrictions as outlined below.

Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program can operate as usual if they only serve people (ages 12 and over) who have:

  • proof of vaccination
    • single dose accepted between September 20 and October 25 if received 2 weeks before time of service
    • double doses required after October 25
  • documentation of a medical exemption
  • proof of a privately-paid negative PCR or rapid test within 72 hours of service (tests from AHS or Alberta Precision Laboratories not allowed)

Businesses do not need to apply for the program. Audits and enforcement will occur to ensure rules are followed.

The Restriction Exemption Program would not apply to:

  • businesses or entities that need to be accessed for daily living
  • employees of businesses participating in the program
  • children under 12

To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people aged 12 and older can show proof of a negative test result.

  • Tests must be privately-paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests completed within 72 hours.
  • Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people ages 12 and older can provide proof of vaccination or documentation of a medical exemption.

  • Sept. 20 to Oct. 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 Oct. 25: proof of double vaccination is required.


Wednesday evening’s conference detailing the new health protocols can be viewed in full below.

(Government of Alberta on YouTube – YourAlberta)

The following measures will take effect on September 16:

WORKPLACES:

  • Mandatory work from-home measures are in place unless the employer has determined that 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. No restrictions are in effect on children under 12-years-old.
  • Attendance at any indoor private social gathering is not permitted for vaccine-eligible individuals who are not vaccinated.
  • 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 of fire code occupancy.
  • Face masks will be mandatory and there must be two-metre physical distancing between households or two close contacts for people living alone.

OUTDOOR EVENTS & FACILITIES WITH NO INDOOR PORTION (excluding washrooms):

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

SCHOOLS (K to 12):

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

CHILDREN’S SPORT/PERFORMANCE/RECREATION (extracurricular sports, performance, recreation and special interest):

  • 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 a physical activity, such as a team sport.
  • Spectator attendance is limited to one-third 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.

The following measures take effect on September 20

RESTAURANTS:

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

WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS:

  • All indoor ceremonies and services are limited to 50 attendees or 50 per cent fire code capacity, whichever is less.
  • No indoor receptions are permitted.
    • The hosting facility would be eligible to implement 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 (i.e., sales end at 10 p.m. and consumption ends by 11 p.m.).
    • The hosting facility would be 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 facilities):

  • 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 (over 18 years old) 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.
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