Moving forward safely

Alberta is bending the curve to protect our health system, but we must be careful not to lift restrictions too quickly.

A Path Forward is a roadmap to help Albertans understand how restrictions will be eased in steps over the coming months. It outlines the sectors that will see gradual restriction changes at each step based on hospitalization benchmarks.

Step 2 changes came into effect March 1. All other restrictions remain in effect.

Translated resources

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

  • Restriction changes to outdoor gatherings, funerals and personal services came into effect Jan. 18.

    Moved to Step 1 on Feb. 8
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    600 hospitalizations and declining
    Came into effect Feb. 8

    Moved to Step 2 on March 1
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    450 hospitalizations and declining
    Effective March 1

    We are here
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    300 hospitalizations and declining

    At least 3 weeks after Step 2
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    150 hospitalizations and declining

    At least 3 weeks after Step 3

Gathering restrictions

COVID-19 remains a public health threat. Social gatherings are the top source of transmission.

All indoor social gatherings are prohibited. Outdoor social gatherings can have up to 10 people. This will be enforced with $1,000 fines.

  • Indoor social gatherings

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Effective Dec. 8

    All indoor social gatherings are prohibited – public and private.

    • Close contacts are limited to household members only
    • People who live alone can have up to 2 close contacts:
      • these must be the same two contacts throughout the duration of the restriction
      • if the close contacts do not live alone, visits cannot be held at their home
      • single parents who only live with their children under 18 are permitted to have up to 2 close contacts

    This restriction does not apply to:

    • co-parenting arrangements
    • service visits from caregivers, health or childcare providers
      • Childcare can include providing post-partum support for new mothers. Parents are allowed to remain in the home while another person is there to provide childcare services.
    • home maintenance and repairs
    • mutual support group meetings
  • Outdoor social gatherings

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Effective Jan. 18

    Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people maximum and must not have an indoor component.

    • Backyard gatherings that require movement in/out of homes are not permitted.
    • Attendees should remain distanced at all times and follow all public health measures.

    See sport and physical activities for information on outdoor recreation.

  • Out-of-town travel and visitors

    Returning to Alberta

    • If you do not have a household in Alberta, you must not stay in other people’s homes while these restrictions are in place.
    • If you belong to the household, you are permitted to return to the home (e.g., child returning home from post-secondary).

    Visitors to Alberta

    • Out-of-town visitors cannot stay in other people's homes while these restrictions are in place, regardless of where they are coming from.

    While we appreciate this may affect travel plans to visit family, the increase in cases is very serious. These measures are required to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Weddings and funerals

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised Jan. 18

    Wedding and funeral receptions are not permitted.

    Wedding ceremony and funeral service attendance is limited to:

    • 10 people maximum for wedding ceremonies
    • 20 people maximum for funeral services, with mandatory masking and 2 metre physical distancing between households

    The maximum limit:

    • includes the officiant, bride/groom and witnesses
    • does not include funeral service or facility staff, funeral clergy or event organizers who are not considered an invited guest
    • applies to any facility, including places of worship and funeral homes
    • applies to services held indoors or outdoors, seated or non-seated

    This measure will help limit exposure, reduce outbreaks and protect vulnerable attendees.

  • Places of worship

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Effective Dec. 13

    Faith services are limited to 15% of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance:

    • Physical distancing between households must be maintained
    • Mask use is mandatory

    Alternatively:

    • Virtual or online services are recommended
    • Drive-in services where people do not leave their vehicles and adhere to guidance are allowed

    Additional safety measures:

    • In-person faith group meetings and other religious gatherings are:
      • not permitted in private homes while these measures are in effect
      • permitted when conducted at a place of worship as long as physical distancing and public health measures are followed
    • Faith leaders and other speakers can remove their masks while speaking if there is a distance of 2 metres. The mask must be put on again once finished speaking.
    • Group performance activities, such as choir singing and playing music, are permitted if they are normal worship practices and not for the purpose of entertainment. Performers must wear masks at all times.

Business and service restrictions

Some businesses are required to temporarily close, reduce capacity or limit in-person access. Masks are mandatory in all indoor public places, indoor workplaces, and places of worship.

Step 2 restriction changes, effective March 1, include:

  • indoor fitness expanded to include low-intensity activities
  • libraries can reopen, with restrictions
  • Retail

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Effective Dec. 13

    Retail services and shopping malls must limit customer capacity to 15% of fire code occupancy (not including staff) or a minimum of 5 customers. This includes individual stores and common areas (see calculating occupancy limits).

    • Curbside pick up, delivery and online services are encouraged
    • Shop alone or only with the people you live with (see tips for shoppers)

    Retail services include but are not limited to:

    • Retail businesses
    • Shopping centres and malls
    • Grocery stores, markets and pharmacies
    • Clothing and sporting goods stores
    • Computer and technology stores
    • Hardware and automotive
    • Liquor and cannabis
    • Pet supply stores
    • Gift shops
  • Restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafes

    Mandatory restrictions – Provincewide – Effective Feb. 8

    Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes can open for in-person service, with restrictions.

    • 6 people per table maximum – individuals must be from the same household or the 2 close contacts for a person living alone.
    • Tables and dining parties must be 2 metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
    • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.
    • Liquor service ends at 10 pm.
    • In-person dining must close by 11 pm.
    • No entertainment allowed (VLTs, pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Entertainment and recreation facilities

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised March 1

    Libraries may open. Capacity is limited to 15% of fire code occupancy, not including staff.

    All entertainment businesses and entities must close, including:

    • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming centres
    • Racing centres, horse tracks, raceways
    • Bowling alleys, pool halls
    • Legions and private clubs (nightclubs must remain closed)
    • Art galleries and museums
    • Science and interpretive centres
    • Amusement and water parks
    • Children’s play centres and indoor playgrounds
    • Movie theatres, auditoria and concert halls
    • Banquet halls, conference centres and trade shows

    Facilities used for indoor recreation may open only for the purposes of 1-to-1 fitness training and youth group physical activities. Facilities may include:

    • Gyms and studios
    • Fitness and recreation centres
    • Spas, pools, indoor rinks and arenas
    • Community halls and centres
  • Personal and wellness services

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Effective Jan. 18

    All personal and wellness services can open by appointment only.

    • Walk-in services are not permitted.
    • Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.
    • Businesses must follow all current public health guidance.
    • Home-based businesses must follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

    Personal services include:

    • esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing, make-up
    • body, nose and ear piercing, and tattoos
    • artificial tanning and spray tanning
    • facial, eyebrow and eyelash treatments
    • cosmetic skin and body treatments
    • laser hair and tattoo removal
    • hairstyling and barbering

    Wellness services include:

    • floatation tanks
    • reflexology
    • colonic irrigation
  • Health, social and professional services

    Mandatory – Provincewide – Revised Jan. 18

    The following services can open by appointment only as long as public health orders and sector guidance is followed. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.

    Regulated health services can open by appointment only

    • physicians, dentists
    • physical therapists
    • optometrists
    • chiropractors
    • hearing aid practitioners
    • acupuncturists
    • naturopaths

    Non-regulated health services can open by appointment only (effective Jan. 18, 2021)

    • massage therapists (a prescription or referral is no longer required)
    • manual osteopaths
    • kinesiologists
    • athletic therapists

    Professional services can remain open by appointment only:

    • lawyers
    • mediators
    • accountants
    • photographers

    Social services can remain open for in-person services including:

    • social, protective or emergency services
    • shelters for vulnerable persons
    • not-for-profit community kitchens, religious kitchens and soup kitchens

    Home-based businesses should follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

  • Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges

    Mandatory – Provincewide – Effective Feb. 8

    Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges may remain open but must follow conditions for dine-in establishments, indoor fitness and personal/wellness services (for example, spa services).

  • Indoor fitness

    Mandatory restrictions – Provincewide – Revised March 1

    Team sports are not permitted

    • No sports games, competitions, team practice or league play of any kind is allowed.

    Individual and group fitness activities are permitted, with restrictions

    • All indoor fitness must be must be scheduled or by appointment – no drop-ins allowed.
    • Low intensity individual and group exercises are now allowed without a trainer.
      • Low intensity fitness includes activities not focused specifically on cardio, that have a low depth and rate of respiration.
      • Examples include: barre, pilates, stretching, tai-chi, low intensity yoga (e.g. hatha, yin), light weightlifting, indoor rock climbing.
    • High intensity activities are permitted for one-on-one or one-on-one household training only, with a trainer.
      • High intensity fitness is often focused on cardiovascular activities that have a high depth and rate of respiration.
      • Examples include: bodybuilding/heavy weightlifting, aerobics, rowing, Zumba, bootcamp, circuit training, cross fit, dance fitness, high intensity interval training, kickboxing, spin, power yoga, swimming etc.
    • Gym, studio, and fitness centre operators should use their best judgement in identifying what category their group exercise classes fall into based on these examples.

    Safety requirements:

    • One-on-one sessions cannot interact with others and there must be a minimum of 3 metres distance between pairs of trainers and clients (aka sessions) in the same facility.
    • Trainers must be professional, certified and/or paid trainers who are providing active instruction and correction. Passive supervision of a physical activity is not considered training.
    • Trainers must remain masked during the session. Clients are not required to wear a mask while doing high intensity exercise.
    • Regardless of the type or intensity of exercise, trainers and clients must be separated by 3 metres at all times.
    • More than one trainer and client ‘pair’ are allowed into the facility, studio, rink, court, pool, ice surface, etc. with restrictions:
      • Each trainer and client pair must stay 3 metres away from all other trainers and clients at all times, including in entryways and exits.
      • Each trainer can only interact with their assigned client, and each client can only interact with their assigned trainer.
      • No interaction between clients or between trainers is allowed.
      • No ‘cycling through’ multiple trainers as in circuit training.
  • Outdoor sport and recreation activities

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised Feb. 8

    Group activities

    Adult group physical activities, including team sports, fitness classes and training sessions, are prohibited or restricted across Alberta. See guidance for outdoor winter recreation.

    • Outdoor team sports and group activities where 2 metre distancing cannot be maintained at all times are prohibited (shinny, tag and pick-up hockey are prohibited).
    • Outdoor group physical activity must be limited to 10 people or fewer.
      • Keeping the activity to members of the same household is strongly recommended.
      • Members of different households must maintain 2 metre distancing at all times.
    • Outdoor recreation amenities can be open to public access unless specifically closed by public health order.
      • This includes outdoor skating rinks, sledding hills and Nordic ski areas.
      • More than 10 people may use an outdoor recreation amenity at the same time (for example, public access to a local rink) as long as physical distancing is maintained between households.

    One-on-one training

    • One-on-one training with a fitness trainer or coach is allowed, with restrictions.
    • See the Indoor fitness section for more information on one-on-one training.
  • Children's sport and performance activities

    Mandatory restrictions – Provincewide – Effective Feb. 8

    All participants must be 18 years old or younger, except coaches or trainers.

    Youth group physical activities

    Children and youth will be allowed to participate in limited group activities.

    • Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed for indoor and outdoor minor sports/activities and school athletics (for example, school sport activities that are outside of a physical education class or related part of the school curriculum).
    • Games are not allowed.
    • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and participants.
      • A playing surface (for example, arena, field, court or swimming pool) may be occupied by more than one youth group, as long as 3-metres of physical distancing can be maintained between groups of 10 and the groups do not intermingle.
    • Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all times:
      • 3-metres physical distance for indoor activities
      • 2-metres physical distance for outdoor activities
      • coaches or trainers may enter physical distancing space for brief interactions with participants (for example, to correct form or technique)
    • Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity. Coaches and trainers must remain masked at all times.
    • Access to change rooms must be limited, including accelerated arrival and departure, emergencies (for example, first aid) and washroom use.

    Performance activities

    Children’s performance activities are permitted if related to school activities, such as music class.

    Off-site facilities

    K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions are allowed to use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.

  • Performance activities

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised Feb. 8

    Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre and playing wind instruments.

    Outdoor settings

    • Rehearsals and practices are permitted up to a maximum of 10 participants. Physical distancing and other relevant guidelines must be followed.
    • Performances with audiences are not permitted.

    Indoor settings

    • No group performances in indoor settings are permitted.
    • Rehearsals, practices and lessons involving 2 or more are not permitted unless it is 1-to-1 with a coach or instructor.

    Lessons

    • 1-to-1 in-person lessons are permitted.
    • Virtual lessons are strongly encouraged where possible.
    • Lessons can’t occur in facilities that are closed under the current measures

    Places of worship

    • Indoor group performance activities conducted in a place of worship, such as choir singing and playing music, are permitted provided these are normal activities conducted as part of worship practices and not for the purpose of entertainment.
  • Working from home

    Mandatory – Provincewide – Effective Dec. 13

    Working from home is mandatory unless the employer requires the employee's physical presence to operate effectively.

  • Public health orders and exemptions

    Public health orders

    • Order 04-2021 (public health measures effective across the province to limit the risk of transmission)

The path forward

Public health measures will be eased in steps based on hospitalization benchmarks.

Each step sets a more predictable path for easing restrictions, while protecting the health system.

Once hospitalizations are within range of the benchmark, decisions to move to the next step will be considered. The lowest-risk activities in each sector will be considered for change first.

Moving between steps will happen at least 3 weeks apart to assess the impact on cases.

Learn more about hospital capacity during COVID-19.

Graphic shows path from Point A to Point B

Steps based on hospitalization benchmarks

STEP 1
<600 hospitalizations
STEP 2
<450 hospitalizations
STEP 3
<300 hospitalizations
STEP 4
<150 hospitalizations

Restrictions eased Feb. 8:

  • Restaurants
  • Indoor fitness
  • Children's sport and performance activities

Restrictions eased March 1:

  • Further easing of indoor fitness activities
  • Libraries

Potential easing in these areas:

  • Adult team sports
  • Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels
  • Casinos, racing centres and bingo halls
  • Further easing of performance activities
  • Further easing of youth sport and recreation activities
  • Indoor social gatherings, with restrictions
  • Indoor seated events (movie theatres and auditoria)
  • Museums, art galleries, zoos, interpretive centres
  • Places of worship
  • Retail

Potential easing in these areas:

  • Amusement parks
  • Concerts (indoor)
  • Festivals (indoor and outdoor)
  • Funeral receptions
  • Indoor entertainment centres and play centres
  • Performance activities (singing, dancing and wind instruments)
  • Sporting events (indoor and outdoor)
  • Tradeshows, conferences and exhibiting events
  • Wedding ceremonies and receptions
  • Workplaces (lift working from home)
  • Day and overnight camps

Financial support

Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan

Financial support programs are available to help people, families and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Find a program

Small- and medium-enterprise relaunch grant

Funding is available for small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 to offset a portion of their costs.

Learn more

Why restrictions are needed

Albertans have a responsibility to slow the virus's spread and make sure the health system can continue supporting patients with COVID-19 and many other needs.

There is a time lag between when people get infected and when new cases are identified. This means the cases we see today were infected up to 2 weeks ago.

We must work together to protect each other. The greater the community spread, the more likely it will infect our loved ones most at-risk of severe outcomes, including death.

What else you should do

Continue following existing public health measures to keep everyone safe:

  • Stay 2 metres apart from others
  • Wear a mask in public spaces, indoor workplaces and places of worship
  • Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Monitor your symptoms every day
  • If sick, stay home, get tested, and follow mandatory isolation requirements while waiting for results:
    • if positive, isolate for 10 days or until symptoms are gone, whichever is longer
    • if negative, stay home until you're better
  • Download and use the ABTraceTogether contact tracing app when out in public

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 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