As of March 25, law enforcement agencies have been granted full authority to enforce the public health orders outlined below and can issue fines.
A gathering is any event or assembly that brings people together in the same space at the same time.
Alberta continues to restrict gatherings during stage 1 of relaunch to protect Albertans’ health and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Check with your local municipality for additional restrictions in your area.
Indoor and outdoor restrictions
Unless otherwise identified in public health orders, such as workplaces, places of worship, or in restaurants, gatherings of:
- more than 15 people are not allowed in one indoor location
- more than 50 people are not allowed in one outdoor location
All gatherings under these limits must occur in a space that allows for mandated physical distancing of at least 2 metres from each other.
Examples of indoor and outdoor gatherings include
- business and education: seminars, workshops
- family events: weddings, funerals
Worship leaders are encouraged to continue holding worship services and funerals remotely, but can offer multiple services to reduce attendance to 50 people or one-third of normal attendance, whichever is smaller and whichever ensures physical distancing will be maintained. Congregational singing is a high-risk activity and is not allowed.
Wedding services must abide by the 15-person indoor gatherings limit even if held in a place of worship.
For more information, see:
- Guidance for places of worship (available in multiple languages)
- Guidance for funeral homes
- Singing restrictions
Reducing risk in small gatherings
To reduce the risk at small gatherings:
- Cancel, postpone, reschedule or explore virtual attendance, especially for people at greater risk, such as people age 60 years or older, and those with chronic medical conditions.
- Contact Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health before starting volunteer initiatives that involve preparing food or collecting donations. These types of activities can spread COVID-19.
- Exclude people who have any symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat (even if they appear mild or resemble a cold).
- Reduce the number of participants or change the venue to allow for physical distancing.
- Stagger the time of arrivals and departures from gatherings.
- Increase access to handwashing stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning of surfaces that are touched often.
- Promote personal protective practices (coughing and sneezing etiquette, hand hygiene).
Singing is a high-risk activity because infected people can transmit the virus through their saliva or respiratory droplets.
- Congregational singing is not allowed. Consider a soloist or instrumental music instead.
- Gatherings that include singing – soloists or in small groups – should take the following precautions:
- keep singers completely separate from the audience and each other by livestreaming individuals singing separately
- limit the number of people singing in the same place to the fewest possible
- have people sing facing away from others or otherwise creating separation using a barrier such as Plexiglas
There is no evidence to determine exactly what a safe distance would be between singers and others, but greater distances can reduce risk.
Other high risk activities
Other activities that could spread COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
- hand shaking
- preparing food
- sharing food or beverages
- buffet-style meals
- Public transit – providers are obligated to take steps to prevent the risk of transmission of infection. Transit riders are encouraged to wear non-medical masks.
- Businesses – a business that is not otherwise restricted or ordered to close can have more than 15 people onsite at an indoor location and more than 50 people onsite at an outdoor location. Workers may work at a distance closer than 2 metres. However, risk mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 must be implemented and followed.
- Shelters; temporary or transitional housing facilities; licensed residential addiction treatment housing facilities.
- Industrial work camp dining facilities - operators must implement practices to reduce the number of people together in one dining facility location at one time.
If you violate this public health order and hold or attend a gathering with more than 15 people indoors or more than 50 people outdoors, you may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Courts could also administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
If you are concerned someone is not following public health orders, you can:
- remind the person that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk
- submit a complaint to AHS public health inspectors online or leave a message at 1-833-415-9179
Please only submit a complaint once. Do not submit online and by phone.
Complaints that require an immediate response related to gathering restrictions or physical distancing can also be reported to your local police service through their administrative phone line.