Overview

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.

Translated resources

COVID-19 resources are available in عربي, 中文, हिंदी, 한국어, فارسی, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Af-Soomaali, Español, Français, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt and اردو on alberta.ca/CovidTranslated.

Restrictions exemption program

Starting September 20, in-scope businesses, entities and events must follow one of these 2 options:

  1. Implement the Restrictions Exemption Program requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or
  2. Comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 44-2021.
  • Program requirements

    The Restrictions Exemption Program permits in-scope businesses, entities and organizers to operate without most public health restrictions as outlined in Order 45-2021. Masks are still mandatory indoors.

    Operators that are out-of-scope or choose not to fully implement the program must comply with all public health restrictions outlined in Order 44-2021.

    How to participate

    Operators do not need to apply, but must follow or exceed the program requirements at all times, including requiring all patrons/attendees aged 12 and over to provide valid:

    • proof of vaccination, or
    • proof of a privately-paid negative rapid test result taken within 72 hours of service, or
    • documentation of a medical exemption

    Resources

    The program does not apply to

    • Businesses or entities that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations
    • Employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors entering the space for work purposes
    • Children under 12

    Enforcement

    • Operators will be audited for compliance.
    • Requirements can be enforced by AHS, AGLC and police units.
    • Public can submit complaints if they believe operators are not in compliance.
  • In-scope operators

    The following in-scope businesses, entities and organizers are eligible to participate:

    • Restaurants
    • Nightclubs
    • Casinos, Bingo Halls, VLT Lounges
    • Entertainment and recreation centres, such as:
      • Bowling, racing entertainment, arcades, billiards halls, other similar entertainment
      • Museums, art galleries
      • Movie theatres
    • Conferences, meeting spaces, halls, and rented space (excluding dwelling units)
    • Weddings and funerals held in public facilities where the facility maintains responsibility for adherence to these requirements
    • Professional sporting or performance events (spectator)
    • Private social events held in public facilities where the facility maintains responsibility for adherence to these requirements
    • Recreation and fitness facilities
    • Adult recreational sport groups (players/participants)
    • Recreation classes and activities (outside physical activity)
    • Amenities in hotels and condos
  • Out-of-scope operators

    The following out-of-scope operators are not eligible to participate:

    • Child care settings
    • Events in private dwellings
    • Retail and shopping malls
    • Food courts
    • Libraries
    • Workers and employees in/on a worksite for the purposes of their employment
    • Schools (Kindergarten to Grade 12)
    • School curriculum based activities
    • Accommodations (hotels, motels)
    • Places of Worship – for faith services
    • Mutual support groups
    • Health services
    • Personal services
    • Wellness services
    • Youth activities, where all participants are under the age of 18
    • Election purposes and other related activities
    • First responders attending for the purposes of responding to an emergency situation
    • Publicly-funded post secondary institutions, including cafeterias and residence common areas (PSIs will fall under a separate and sector-specific exemption)
    • First Nations College entities:
      • Maskwacis Cultural College
      • Old Sun Community College
      • Red Crow Community College
      • University nuhelot'ine thaiyots'i nistameyimakanak Blue Quills
      • Yellowhead Tribal College
  • Proof of vaccination

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

    • Valid photo identification that matches the vaccine record (only required for adults 18 and over)
    • Valid paper or digital vaccine record that shows name, vaccine type and date of administration:
      • From September 20 to October 25: proof of partial vaccination (one 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 full vaccination (two doses) is required.

    Find out how to access your records

    Book your vaccination

  • Proof of negative test

    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, Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR or lab-based PCR test completed within the previous 72 hours.
      • Valid test results should be a written or printed copy that clearly outlines the type of test, time of sample collection, clear indication of a negative result, and laboratory that completed the test, if applicable.
      • Photos of a rapid test result taken offsite is not sufficient.
      • Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
    • Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
    • Operators offering on-site rapid testing should seek expert medical oversight prior to implementing a rapid testing program.
  • Proof of medical exemption

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

    • A valid medical exemption is the original signed letter from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes:
      • Person's name that matches their identification.
      • Physician’s or nurse practitioner’s complete information, including:
        • name, phone number, contact information, professional registration number and signature
        • statement that there is a medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19
        • duration that the exemption is valid

Business restrictions

  • Entertainment, event and recreation facilities

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 16 and 20

    Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities (Sept 20)

    • Indoor facilities that do not implement the Restrictions Exemption Program must follow these restrictions:
      • Capacity limited to 1/3 fire code occupancy.
      • Attendees must be with household members only, or 2 close contacts if they live alone.

    Outdoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities (Sept 16)

    • Events and facilities that are fully outdoors (excluding washrooms), have no capacity restrictions but must maintain 2 metres distancing between households or 2 close contact for those living alone.
  • Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 20

    The following restrictions apply to businesses that do not implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.

    • Indoor dining is not permitted.
    • Outdoor dining only with a maximum of 6 people per table (one household or 2 close contacts for those living alone)
    • Liquor sales and consumption restrictions apply (sales end at 10pm, consumption by 11pm).
  • Retail, shopping malls and food courts

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 20

    Retail, shopping malls and food courts are not eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program as public access is necessary for daily living. Therefore these restrictions apply:

    • Capacity restricted to 1/3 fire code occupancy.
    • Attendees must be with household members only, or 2 close contacts if they live alone.
    • Indoor food courts must close to in-person dining. Take out is allowed.
  • Sport, fitness and performance activities

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 16 and 20

    Adult (18-plus) sport, fitness and performance activities (Sept 20)

    • The following restrictions apply unless the facility or program implements the Restrictions Exemption Program:
      • Indoor group classes and activities are not permitted.
      • Indoor competitions are paused except where vaccine exemptions have been granted.
      • Indoor one-on-one training and solo activities are allowed with 3 metre physical distancing.
      • Outdoor activities can continue with no restrictions.

    Youth (under 18) sport, fitness and performance activities (Sept 16)

    • Indoor group classes, training, and competitions are permitted, but participants are required to:
      • screen for symptoms
      • maintain 2 metres distancing, except youth while engaged in physical activity
      • wear a mask, except youth while engaged in physical activity
    • Spectator attendance is restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity, attendees are limited to a single household or 2 close contact if living alone and must be masked and maintain 2 metres physical distancing.
    • Outdoor activities can continue with no restrictions.

    Day and overnight camps (Sept 16)

    • Day camps required to maintain physical distancing between participants and masking indoors.
    • Overnight camps must follow cohort models.

Gathering restrictions

  • Social gatherings (indoor and outdoor)

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept 16

    Indoor social gatherings

    • Vaccinated: Indoor private social gatherings are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 vaccine-eligible, vaccinated people and no restrictions on children under 12.
    • Unvaccinated: Indoor social gatherings are not permitted for vaccine-eligible people who are unvaccinated.
    • This restriction does not apply to mutual support groups, or to workers who need to access your home to provide caregiving support or home repairs and maintenance.

    Outdoor social gatherings

    • Outdoor private social gatherings limited to a maximum of 200 people, with 2 metre physical distancing at all times.
  • Places of worship

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 16

    • Capacity limited to 1/3 fire code occupancy.
    • Masks are mandatory.
    • 2 metres physical distancing between households, or 2 close contacts for those living alone.
  • Weddings and funerals

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 20

    • Indoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services are permitted with up to 50 people or 50% of fire code occupancy, whichever is less, unless the hosting facility implements the Restrictions Exemption Program.
    • Indoor wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited, unless the hosting facility implements the Restrictions Exemption Program.
    • Outdoor ceremonies, services and receptions are permitted with up to 200 people and must follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (sales end at 10pm, consumption by 11pm), unless the hosting facility implements the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Elections, masks, schools, and work from home

  • Elections
    • The new public health actions will not impact the voting process.
    • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter a polling place and cast a ballot.
    • Elections Canada has health and safety measures in place to support physical distancing, masking and other important ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
  • Masks and physical distancing

    Mandatory restriction – Effective Sept. 16

    • Masking and 2 metres physical distancing are mandatory in all indoor public spaces, workplaces, and places of worship.
    • Employees must mask in all indoor work settings, except while alone in work stations.
    • The Restrictions Exemption Program does not apply to masking. Masks are still required in places that implement the program.

    Learn more about mask requirements

  • Schools (K to 12)

    Mandatory measure - Effective Sept. 16 

    • Mandatory masking for students in Grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.
      • Schools that implement an alternate COVID safety plan can be exempted from mandatory masking.
    • Elementary schools to implement class cohorting.
    • Indoor sports, fitness, recreation, and performance activities are permitted in schools, with requirements to maintain 2 metre physical distancing where possible.
      • Masks and distancing are not required by youth under 18 while engaged in physical activity.
      • Spectator attendance restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity and limited to households or 2 close contacts for those living alone. Attendees must be masked and distanced.
  • Working from home

    Mandatory measure - Effective Sept. 16

    • Mandatory work-from-home measures are in place unless the employer has determined a physical presence is required for operational effectiveness.
    • If employees are working on location, they must mask in all indoor settings, except while alone in work stations.

Testing, tracing and isolating

  • Testing

    Measures in effect

    • COVID-19 testing for Albertans with symptoms remains available at assessment centres.
    • Asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended.
    • A wastewater baseline testing program will be launched to provide area trend information and monitor variants of concern. More details will be released in the coming weeks.
  • Isolation and quarantine requirements

    Measures in effect

    • Isolation is still legally required for people who have COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive.
    • Quarantine is no longer legally required for close contacts positive cases, unless directed to do so by local public health officials.
    • However, anyone who is a household contact and is not fully immunized, should stay home for 14 days (i.e. not attend work, school or other activities).
    • International travellers must still follow federal travel requirements.
    • Isolation hotels and quarantine supports are no longer available.
  • Contact tracing and case investigation

    Measures in effect

    • Individuals with positive tests will continue to be notified.
    • Contact tracers will not notify close contacts of positive cases, but will ask that individuals do so when informed of their positive result.
    • Contact tracers will continue to investigate cases in high-risk settings, such as acute and continuing care.
  • Outbreaks

    Measures in effect

    • Outbreak management and identification will focus on high-risk locations, including continuing and acute care and high-risk workplaces.
    • Community outbreaks with a surge in cases leading to severe outcomes will be addressed as needed.
  • Health care and congregate care settings
    • Existing public health orders for acute care remain in place.
    • Licensed supportive living, long-term care and hospice settings have begun easing restrictions as part of a 2-phase approach. These changes come into effect as soon as facility operators are able to make the necessary changes, but have until July 31 to fully implement all of Phase 1.

    For more information on current restrictions in these settings, see protecting residents at congregate care facilities.

Public health orders and exemptions

  • Public health orders and exemptions
  • Mask exceptions

    In the specific settings where a mask is required, anyone unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition will require a medical exception letter from an authorized health professional.

    The medical exception letter may be presented when in a public setting if requested by enforcement officials, or retrospectively in court if a ticket is issued.

    See mask requirements for more information.

  • Promoting safe public spaces

    Public Health Order 30-2021 clarifies that large gatherings can be held on public land for political purposes (rallies, public demonstrations, protests, etc.).

    To help protect health, masking and physical distancing requirements are in place.

    As with other activities in general, participants at these gatherings are subject to enforcement actions if public health measures are not followed.

Guidance and posters

General guidance and resources are available to help Albertans and businesses follow best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Additional guidance for businesses and event organizers
  • Assessing personal risk

    Albertans are encouraged to assess and manage their personal risk. It is reasonable for people to continue using precautions that will serve their needs.

    Risk factors

    When assessing your personal risk, it is important to consider your setting, individual health and wellness factors, and comfort level. Consult your health care provider if you want help assessing your personal risk of severe outcomes or determining your personal risk level.

    Factors that increase COVID-19 risk:

    • You are not fully vaccinated yet.
    • You regularly interact with children 11 and under who cannot be vaccinated yet.
    • You attend crowded indoor spaces.
    • You have risk factors for severe health outcomes from COVID-19.

    Factors that lower COVID-19 risk:

    • You are fully vaccinated.
    • You mostly socialize outdoors, instead of indoors.
    • You have a small social circle.
    • You can normally maintain distancing from other people.

    Additional precautions

    The best thing you can do to support your health and reduce the risk to the broader community is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are our best protection against COVID-19 and the safest and most effective way to protect against infection and severe illness.

    Additionally, all Albertans should:

    • practice good hand and respiratory hygiene
    • stay home when they are sick

    If you have risk factors as described above, it is reasonable to consider additional precautions such as:

    • avoiding or limiting time spent in crowded indoor places
    • minimizing close contact with anyone showing cold-like symptoms
    • continuing to use a face mask
  • Mental health supports

    We encourage Albertans to access supports that are available, if and when they are needed, and to respect how others are adjusting in this time of transition. For additional guidance, see mental health support (PDF, 270 KB).

  • Posters and fact sheets

    Resources are available in various languages.

Get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

Everyone born in 2009 or before (turning 12+) can book their first and second doses now. Some people most at risk of severe illness can now get a third dose.

Book your shot Get the facts

Enforcement

If you violate a public health order, you may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Additionally, you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000 for a first time offense.

If you are concerned someone is not following public health orders, you can:

  • remind them that not following orders is against the law and puts people at risk
  • request service from AHS public health inspectors online or call 1-833-415-9179

Submit a request online

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