Overview

Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency. Measures to protect the health care system, stop the spread, and increase vaccination rates are in effect.

Businesses participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program can operate as usual if they require patrons 12 and over to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result.

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

As of 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.

Financial support will be available to help offset costs of implementing the program.

  • 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 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.
  • Proof of vaccination and QR code scanner

    To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated (at least 14 days from second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or a single dose of Janssen):

    • Valid Alberta vaccine record that shows name, birthdate, and vaccination type and date
    • Other accepted forms of proof of vaccination include:
    • Valid identification that matches the vaccine record is also required for adults 18 and over.

    Transition to vaccine record with QR codes

    • Your Alberta vaccine record with QR code will be the only valid Alberta proof of vaccination accepted by operators participating in REP as of November 15.
    • Vaccine records from First Nations, military, other provinces, and international travellers will continue to be accepted.

    Scanning QR codes

    • Businesses can use the AB Covid Records Verifier app to scan Alberta vaccine QR codes.
      • If the record is valid, the app will display a green checkmark and the person's legal name and date of birth. It does not access or store any other personal information.
      • Internet connection is not required to scan codes.
      • Download the app for free from Google Play or the App Store.
      • An updated iOS version is now available to fix issues when scanning records of people who've had 3 doses.
    • Tipsheet: How to use the AB Covid Records Verifier app

    Not vaccinated? Book your vaccination appointment.

  • 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.

    • The test result should be a written or printed copy that indicates the individual has tested negative for COVID-19 on a Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR, or lab based PCR test approved by Health Canada or the lab accreditation body of jurisdiction.
      • 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 or result taken offsite is not sufficient.
      • A self-test completed offsite or self-produced documentation of a negative test result is not valid.
      • Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
    • Tests must not be from the Alberta Health Services public COVID-19 testing system.
    • Operators offering on-site rapid testing should seek expert medical oversight prior to implementing a rapid testing program.
    • For more details, see requirements for the Restrictions Exemption 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
  • In-scope operators

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

    • Restaurants and food courts with closed access to the public
    • 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
    • Recreation facilities for physical activity, performance activity or recreational activity
    • 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)
    • Indoor adult sport and performance activities (participants)
    • Private social events held in public facilities where the facility maintains responsibility for adherence to these requirements
    • Adult recreational activities (for example, classes, groups)
    • Amenities in hotels and condos, including fitness rooms, pools and game rooms
  • 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
    • 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 physical activity, performance activity and recreational activity, where all participants are under the age of 18
    • Public transit
    • Jury selection
    • 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

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 and shopping malls

    Mandatory restriction - Effective Sept. 20

    Retail and shopping malls 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Gathering restrictions

  • Social gatherings (indoor and outdoor)

    Mandatory restriction - Updated October 5

    Indoor social gatherings

    • Vaccinated: Indoor private social gatherings are limited to 2 households (yours plus one other) up 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 20 people, with 2 metre physical distancing between households 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.

Masks, schools and elections

  • 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.

    For more information, see K-12 learning during COVID-19

  • Post-secondary institutions

    Mandatory measure – Effective Sept. 20

    • Post-secondary institutions are not eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program.
    • However, post-secondaries can implement a proof of vaccination program for students to be eligible for an exemption that permits the following:
      • Students and staff do not have to maintain physical distancing in learning environments (where there is no access to persons not part of the program). Physical distancing is required in common spaces.
      • Cafeterias and dining halls can be open for staff and students to dine indoors, with no requirement to physically distance or sit only with members of your household or your 2 close contacts, and no limit on the number of people per table.
      • Note: other public health measures, such as mandatory masking in all public spaces and restrictions around adult physical and performance activities, continue to apply.
    • All post-secondary proof of vaccine programs must ensure:
      • All student have been vaccinated with at least a first dose of a World Health Organization (WHO) approved COVID-19 vaccine no later than September 20, 2021, and be fully immunized with a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine no later than November 1, 2021.
        • Full immunization occurs 14 days after the second dose is received.
      • Students who remain unvaccinated or are vaccinated after these dates must be able to show:
        • proof of medical exemption from vaccination or
        • produce negative results from COVID-19 tests that are conducted regularly (for example, twice weekly) by the institution or a private test provider.
      • Note: Proof of vaccination is not required from staff and contractors.
    • If a post-secondary institution decides not to implement a proof of vaccination program, it must follow all public health measures in Order 44-2021.
    • Varsity sports teams at post-secondary institutions are considered to be semi-professional and may conduct group physical activity indoors and do not need to maintain distancing or wear face masks during play.
      • Physical distancing and masking are required before and after play (for example, in change rooms, washrooms, etc.)
  • Elections
    • The new public health actions will not impact the voting process.
    • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter a polling place to cast a ballot.
    • Health and safety measures will be in place to support physical distancing, masking and other important ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

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.
    • Public health orders for continuing care remain in place.

    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
  • Posters and fact sheets
  • 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).

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 your vaccine QR record Get the facts

Enforcement

If you violate a public health order, you may be subject to a $2,000 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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