As businesses prepare to reopen as part of Alberta's relaunch strategy, resources are available to help keep you, your staff, and your customers safe.
By working together, we can ensure our sacrifices to slow the spread of COVID-19 are not wasted. Businesses should continue acting responsibly by following public health and physical distancing measures and using good hygiene and disinfecting practices.
All workplaces are expected to develop and implement policies and procedures to address COVID-19.
More tips and guidance will be added as we continue the staged relaunch.
This guidance supports all workplaces in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing non-medical masks (May 14)
Flushing water systems (May 13)
This guidance supports sectors currently allowed to operate under public health orders.
Dog parks (May 16)
Farmers’ markets (May 18)
Food processing operations (May 20)
Funeral homes (May 23)
Golf course operators (May 1)
Grocery stores (May 24)
Health sector PPE guidelines (May 2)
Homeless shelters (AHS)
Industrial work camps (April 25)
Post-secondary institutions (May 23)
Private and municipal campgrounds (May 18)
Shooting (firearm) ranges (May 25)
Planning for operations
This guidance is to prepare for Stage 1 relaunch starting May 14.
Day camps (May 18)
Daycare & out-of-school care (May 23)
Graduation ceremonies (May 16, also in French)
Hair salons and barbershops (May 18, 6 languages)
Interpretive attractions (May 24)
Malls and shopping centres (May 24)
Museums and art galleries (May 18)
Outdoor recreation (May 18, 6 languages)
Places of Worship (May 23, 12 languages)
Playgrounds (May 16)
Preschools (May 26)
Restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars (May 18, 6 languages)
Retail (May 11, 6 languages)
Taxis, limos and rideshares (May 24)
When reopening, businesses should:
- become familiar with the workplace guidance and relevant sector-specific guidance documents
- identify and implement measures to comply with public health requirements and workplace guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among staff and customers
An optional relaunch considerations plan template is available to help business determine the steps they should take when reopening:
As businesses prepare to reopen, it's important to take measures to protect employees and customers:
- practice good hygiene and thorough cleaning and disinfecting
- use Health Canada approved hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against COVID-19 (search products by DIN number)
- aid physical separation through barriers (Plexiglas), signage, floor markings and traffic flow controls to limit people in a space
- use PPE and follow guidance to wear masks properly
Connect to PPE suppliers using the websites below. The government is not responsible for products or prices offered on these sites.
Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can find out how to help at Alberta Bits and Pieces.
Have a question or idea?
If you have questions about relaunch that aren't addressed on this page, please contact the Biz Connect team to get the information you need to reopen your business safely and successfully. Common questions will be posted online so others can benefit.
If you have ideas on how we can cut red tape, let us know.
Alberta's relaunch strategy
A staged plan to gradually reopen businesses, resume activities and get people back to work, while putting safety first.
Stage 1 allows some businesses and services to resume operations starting May 14. Calgary and Brooks fully entered Stage 1 on June 1.
Restricted and non-restricted services
The list of businesses and sectors currently permitted to or restricted from providing services at locations accessible to the public.
Workplace rule changes
Temporary changes to employment standards, occupational health and safety, and workers' compensation to help businesses manage the rapidly changing conditions caused by COVID-19.
Commercial tenancy support feedback
Commercial tenants and landlords can share their experiences to help us understand the challenges they faced with developing payment schedules, paying rent or meeting other financial obligations during the pandemic.
Banks and credit unions
- Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
- ATB small business customers can:
- apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
- access additional working capital for ATB customers
- Other ATB business and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis.Further solutions are being considered at this time.
Corporate income tax changes
Alberta corporate income tax balances and instalment payments coming due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 are deferred until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.
Due dates for filing corporate income tax returns due after March 18, 2020 and before June 1, 2020 have been extended to June 1, 2020.
Education property tax deferral
Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months, or both municipal and education property tax are deferred for a shorter time that is of equivalent benefit.
- Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
- Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
- Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do to so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.
- Taxpayers should contact their municipality directly for information for details on their municipality’s approach to education property tax deferrals.
Tourism levy deferral
Hotels and other lodging providers can delay paying the tourism levy until August 31 for amounts that become due to government on or after March 27, 2020. Payments deferred until August 31 will not be subject to penalties or interest.
Hotels and other lodging providers are still expected to file returns, as required by legislation, and must collect the tourism levy from guests staying at their properties during this period.
Utility payment deferral
Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18, 2020 to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19, such as those who have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill family member.
Call your utility provider directly to arrange for deferral on all payments until June 18, 2020.
WCB premium payment deferrals
Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.
- For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million.
- Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.
Federal government programs
The federal government offers a range of programs to support businesses, including:
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Canada Emergency Business Account
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (now accepting applications)
Questions about reopening
Why are businesses reopening in stages?
Alberta's three-stage relaunch strategy was created to balance the continued need to slow the spread of COVID-19, with the need to reopen the economy and get people back to work.
Our decisions on what businesses can open and what stays closed were made based on the advise of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, with the health and safety of Albertans as the main priority.
As we move through the stages, we will closely monitor each action to guard against a second wave of the virus. There may be times we need to step back, but we will move forward together.
Why wasn't my business included in Stage 1?
Stage 1 puts safety first as some restrictions are gradually lifted to allow some businesses to resume operations starting May 14.
It considers things like proximity between patrons and staff, sectors that have been highly impacted by COVID-19, and sectors that are foundational to the labour market and/or supply chain.
For details, visit Alberta's relaunch strategy.
Do businesses have to reopen if they're allowed?
No. It will be up to each business operator to determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance have been met.
Businesses allowed to re-open during stage one will be subject to strict infection prevention and controls, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders.
If you have questions about how relaunch may apply to your business, email BizConnect@gov.ab.ca.
Who do I contact if I think my business should open in a different stage?
If you have questions about how relaunch may apply to your business, please email BizConnect@gov.ab.ca.
When will dates and guidance for Stages 2 and 3 be released?
Right now, Alberta is focused on Stage 1 of relaunch. Dates for future stages will be determined based on public safety.
More information and guidance for businesses that are scheduled to reopen in Stage 2 and Stage 3 will be added to this site as it is available.
When will travel restrictions be lifted?
Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until Stage 3.
Travel restrictions, airport screening and mandatory isolation measures will also remain in place until the later stages of relaunch.
Questions about a safe and healthy relaunch
Does the guidance replace or change OHS requirements?
No. Employers should continue to meet existing occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements.
OHS questions and concerns can be directed to the OHS Contact Centre online or by phone at 1-866-415-8690 (in Alberta) or 780-415-8690 (in Edmonton).
What kind of PPE does my business need?
Businesses should conduct a hazard assessment to identify existing and potential hazards related to COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is necessary when physical distancing of 2 metres or physical barriers cannot be maintained by administrative and engineering controls (like barriers or partitions, floor markings, limiting the number people in your business at one time).
Examples of PPE include gloves, eye protection, gown, face protections, procedure/surgical masks or NIOSH-N95 masks.
Masks must be worn properly to be effective. Find out how at alberta.ca/masks.
Businesses can purchase PPE by visiting the following procurement websites:
Can I legally require customers and/or staff to wear masks?
While there are no public health orders mandating the use of masks, businesses are responsible for determining appropriate measures to protect the health of staff and patrons.
This may include requirements for staff and patrons to wear masks if a business owner determines this step is necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Is it mandatory for employees to return to work if a business reopens?
If an employer has met all the requirements to resume operations, an employer can recall employees from a temporary lay off. If the employee does not return to work, the employment will be deemed terminated by the employee.
From a health and safety perspective, workers may suggest it is unsafe to return to work. Employees do have the right to refuse work – but this must be for a specific task/activity, and would not normally allow for workers to refuse to attend work.
For detailed information, contact:
What happens if an employee refuses to return to work after a temporary layoff?
An employer may request an employee, who is on a temporary layoff, return to work by providing the employee with a recall notice.
If an employee fails to return to work within 7 days of being served with the recall notice, the employee is not entitled to termination notice or termination pay if the employer decides to terminate the employee’s employment as a result of the employee’s failure to return to work.
Can coworkers carpool?
Yes, carpooling is permitted.
If you carpool, it's recommended to maintain physical distancing as much as possible, stagger seating and practice good hygiene. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home.
Preventative hygiene measures should also be followed, including:
- avoid touching your face
- wear a mask
- stay as far away from other passengers as possible
- sanitize hands when leaving the vehicle
- frequently sanitize commonly touched vehicle surfaces, such as door handles, seatbelt buckles, steering wheel, dashboard
Questions about sectors
I can’t find guidance for my sector, where can I go for info?
Are day camps allowed to operate?
Day camp programs may operate in cohorts of 10 people. This includes both staff and children.
A cohort is defined as a group of children and staff members assigned to them who stay together throughout the day.
Staff members, parents or guardians and children must not attend the program if they are sick.
Staff must ask parents and guardians to check the temperatures of their children daily before coming to the program.
For more information, refer to Guidance for Day Camps
Can hair salons, barbers and personal services reopen?
Hair salons and barbers
Hair salons and barbers will be permitted to gradually resume operations as part of Stage 1, with increased infection prevention controls in place.
Stylists and barbers have regulated training and certification standards in place to keep themselves and their clients safe.
Hair salon and barbershop owners and workers should follow the general and sector specific guidance, and must continue to comply with regulations.
Personal and therapeutic services
Personal services can resume operations in Stage 2 of relaunch, including:
- artificial tanning
- cosmetic skin and body treatments
- tattoo and body piercings
- manicures and pedicures
- facial treatments
- massage and reflexology
Allied health services can also resume operations in Stage 2 of relaunch, including:
- massage therapy
Can car washes and home cleaning services operate?
Car washes are not specifically listed as a restricted service. They are safe to continue operations.
Home cleaning businesses are included on the list of non-restricted services. They are able to operate.
See full list of restricted and non-restricted services.
When can driver training and road tests begin?
As driver and motorcycle training businesses are not specifically prohibited to operate, they may operate in accordance with all public health orders related to business, including physical distancing. Operators must continue to be in full compliance with any requirements and regulations for driver training.
Alberta has extended the suspension of road tests while we develop procedures to safely conduct these exams during the COVID-19 response. Alberta Transportation continues to work on a plan that will allow all driving road tests to resume in a safe manner.
When can fitness activities, like yoga studios or boutique gyms, open?
Gyms, fitness facilities, personal trainers, yoga studios, coaching, pools, recreation centres, arenas and nightclubs will reopen with enhanced protection as part of Stage 3 of Alberta's relaunch strategy.
The strategy was developed with the advice of public health officials to keep Albertans safe while carefully lifting the restrictions implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19. The timing of Stage 3 will be determined based on health indicators.
Where to go for info and advice
What do I do if a business doesn't comply with health orders and guidance?
Businesses allowed to reopen in Stage 1 are subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders.
If Albertans are concerned that businesses are not following public health orders, they can:
- remind the business owner or operator that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk
- submit a complaint online to AHS public health inspectors
- call 1-833-415-9179 to submit a complaint by leaving a message when prompted
Complaints that require an immediate response can also be reported to your local police force through their administrative phone line. Please do not call municipal 911 services.
Where can I find current COVID-19 info and stats?
Alberta's chief medical officer of health issues frequent updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta and COVID-19 case numbers are updated daily.
Where can I get small business advice?
Talk to a small business advisor at Business Link to get free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.
Connect with a business strategist
Submit your question online or contact them directly.
Tell us how we can reduce red tape for small businesses reopening after COVID-19 restrictions.
We know it's difficult and want to hear your suggestions to make this transition easier.
The personal information is being collected and used pursuant to section 33(c) and section 39(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Questions regarding the FOIP Act or the collection, use, or disclosure of this information, may be directed to Christopher Hodge, FOIP Advisor, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 780-643-9389.