Stop the spike

New health measures are in place to protect the health system and reduce the rising spread of COVID-19 provincewide.

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. Growth of cases and variants of concern will also guide decisions to further ease or increase restrictions.

Alberta returned to Step 1 on April 6. Additional restrictions for restaurants took effect April 9. Step 1 restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

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

    First moved to Step 1 on Feb. 8
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    600 hospitalizations and declining cases

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

    Returned to Step 1 on April 6
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    300 hospitalizations and declining cases

    Delayed due to rising hospitalizations
  • Benchmark to ease restrictions:
    150 hospitalizations and declining cases

    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 with 2 metre physical distancing between households. 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


    • 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.

  • Retail

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised April 6

    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 – Revised April 9

    In-person service is not permitted indoors.

    Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafes and food courts can open for outdoor patio dining, takeout, curbside pickup and delivery only.

    • Patios and dining facilities must meet the following requirements in order to be considered outdoor:
      • If the patio or facility has a roof, it cannot have more than 1 enclosing wall.
      • The facility or patio can have more than 1 enclosing wall if it does not have a roof.
      • Umbrellas and pergolas are not considered to be roofs. Fences and half-walls are not counted as walls.
    • Patio seating must be limited to a maximum of 6 people per table – 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.
    • Individuals must stay seated with their dining party unless using the washroom, paying, or entering/exiting the facility. Masks must be worn indoors.
    • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.
    • Liquor service ends at 10 pm.
    • Patio dining must close by 11 pm.
    • No entertainment allowed (VLTs, pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Entertainment and recreation facilities

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised April 6

    Libraries must close.

    All entertainment businesses and entities must remain closed, including:

    • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming centres
    • Racing centres, horse tracks, raceways
    • Bowling alleys, pool halls
    • Nightclubs
    • 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

    Facilities used for indoor recreation may open only for individual or household one-on-one 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
  • Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels

    Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Revised April 6

    Banquet halls, community halls and conference centres can open for activities permitted under Step 1, such as:

    • wedding ceremonies up to 10 people
    • funeral services up to 20 people

    Wedding receptions, funeral receptions and trade shows are not permitted.

    Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges may remain open, but must follow restrictions – no spas or in-person dining (room services only).

  • 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.

  • Indoor fitness

    Mandatory restrictions – Provincewide – Revised April 6

    Team sports are not permitted

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

    All group fitness activities are not permitted

    • Individual or household one-on-one training only, with a trainer, is permitted.
    • All indoor fitness must be scheduled or by appointment – no drop-ins allowed.

    Safety requirements


    • Masks must be worn by:
      • trainers at all times
      • clients at all times during low intensity exercise – masks are not required during high intensity exercise

    Physical distancing

    • 3 metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times, regardless of the type or intensity of exercise. This includes between pairs of trainers and clients – sessions cannot interact.
    • 2 metre physical distancing is required in all other areas of the facilitly, such as entryways and exits, change rooms, etc.

    Restrictions for training sessions

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • ‘Cycling through’ multiple trainers (as in circuit training) is not permitted.
  • 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 (such as 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.
  • Youth and collegiate sport and recreation activities

    Mandatory restrictions – Provincewide – Revised April 6

    Eligible participants include:

    • youth 18 years old and under
    • members of a collegiate or university athletic program
    • coaches or trainers

    Limited group physical activities allowed

    • 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.

    Safety requirements

    • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and participants.
      • Indoor and outdoor playing surfaces (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 high intensity physical 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.

    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 April 6

    Adult performance activities are not permitted.

    Performance activities include dancing, singing, acting, playing a musical instrument, and any rehearsal or theatrical performance.

    Youth development activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4H are allowed. Participants must be 18 years old and under.

  • 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

The path forward

Public health measures are being eased in steps based on hospitalization benchmarks and declining cases. When cases rise sharply, additional restrictions are implemented, as occurred on April 6.

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

Once hospitalizations are within range of the benchmark and declining, and cases are remaining stable or declining, 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 and declining cases

<600 hospitalizations and declining cases
<450 hospitalizations and declining cases
<300 hospitalizations and declining cases
<150 hospitalizations and declining cases

Restrictions eased in these areas:

  • Indoor fitness
  • Youth and collegiate sport, performance and recreation activities

Potential easing in these areas:

  • Further easing of indoor fitness activities
  • Restaurants
  • Libraries
  • Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels
  • Performance activities
  • Retail

Potential easing in these areas:

  • Adult team sports
  • Casinos, racing centres and bingo halls
  • 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

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


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