Overview

Cohort and gathering limits will remain during Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy to protect Albertans’ health and limit the spread of COVID-19. Some regions may need to put additional measures in place to address local outbreaks.

Indoor and outdoor activities can be enjoyed as long as you follow all public health orders, including:

  • limiting gathering sizes
  • staying 2 metres apart from people outside your cohort
  • avoiding high-risk or prohibited activities
  • staying home and getting tested if you are sick

 

Cohort groups

New measures for Calgary and Edmonton Zone

Limit cohorts to no more than 3: your core household, your school and one other sport or social cohort. Young children in child care can be part of 4 cohorts. This is a voluntary public health measure to stop the rapid rise of COVID-19 in the City of Calgary and the Edmonton Zone.

A COVID-19 cohort – also known as bubbles, circles, or safe squads – is a small group of the same people who can interact regularly without staying 2 metres apart.

A person in a cohort should avoid close contact with people outside of the cohort. Keeping the same people together, instead of mixing and mingling:

  • helps reduce the chances of getting sick
  • makes it easier to track exposure if someone does get sick

You should only belong to one core cohort. It is safest limit the number of other cohorts you belong to reduce the risk of getting sick or spreading COVID-19.

Guidance for Cohorts (PDF, 378 KB)

  • Cohort types and recommended limits

    Core cohorts (households and families)

    Under Stage 2 of relaunch, core cohorts can include your household and up to 15 other people you spend the most time with and are physically close to.

    This usually includes people part of your regular routine:

    • household members
    • immediate family
    • closest tightknit social circle
    • people you have regular close contact with (co-parent who lives outside the household, a babysitter or caregiver)

    Other cohort types

    Under Stage 2 of relaunch, you can participate in other cohorts in addition to your core cohort.

    • child care programs may operate in cohorts of up to 30 children and staff
    • sports teams can play in-region only cohorts of up to 50 players and coaching staff (mini leagues) if the sport does not allow participants to keep 2 meters apart
    • performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members, performers and crew)

    Sports and performing cohort numbers do not include parents or spectators.

  • Safety recommendations

    Core cohorts

    Everyone in your core cohort should:

    • belong to only one core cohort
    • limit interactions with people outside the cohort
    • keep at least 2 meters from people outside the core cohort
    • wear a mask when closer than 2 metres with others wherever possible

    Other cohort groups

    When participating in other cohort groups, you should:

    • interact outdoors if possible – it’s safer than indoors
    • avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places and close contact settings
    • be healthy and not show any COVID-19 symptoms (see the full symptom list)
    • have not travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days
    • keep track of where you go, when you are there, and who you meet:
      • this information will be helpful if someone is exposed to COVID-19
      • download the ABTraceTogether app, a mobile contact tracing app that helps to let you know if you've been exposed to COVID-19 – or if you've exposed others – while protecting your privacy

    At-risk people

    If you are at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and want to participate in a cohort, you should:

    • consider smaller cohorts, and
    • avoid cohorts with people who also participate in sports, performing and child care cohorts to minimize exposure potential

    High risk groups include seniors and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes. Find out how to assess your risk.

    Students and teachers

    As school begins, families with students and teachers may wish to reduce their cohort size and/or the number of cohorts they belong to.

    • This decision best left up to each household, and should be based on the risk factors of the cohort members.
    • If in doubt, shrink your cohort for the first few weeks of school, and re-assess once school routines have been established.
  • How to expand your cohort
    • look at your everyday life and include people who make the most sense for you and your household
    • start slow, don’t feel pressured to expand a cohort until you feel confident it’s safe
    • stay with those in your local community or neighbourhood to reduce geographic spread
    • get an agreement and commitment from everyone to keep the core cohort safe

Gathering restrictions

New measures for Calgary and Edmonton Zone

Mandatory 15 person limit on social and family gatherings in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. This limit is voluntary for communities surrounding Edmonton. Learn more about additional health measures for the City of Calgary and the Edmonton Zone.

A gathering is any situation that brings people together in the same space at the same time for the same purpose. Check with your local municipality for additional restrictions in your area.

Unless otherwise identified in public health orders, the following gathering restrictions are in place:

  • 200 people maximum for audience-type community outdoor events, such as festivals, firework displays, rodeos and sporting events, and outdoor performances
  • 100 people maximum for other outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events, including wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances and other indoor spectator events where people remain seated
  • 50 people maximum for indoor social gatherings, including wedding and funeral receptions and birthday parties
  • No cap on the number of people (with public health measures in place):
    • worship gatherings
    • restaurant, cafes, lounges and bars
    • casinos and bingo halls
    • trade shows and exhibits

Permitted activities

  • Halloween and trick-or-treating

    You can celebrate the spookiest time of year if you take proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and follow gathering restrictions.

    Tips for a spooky safe Halloween

  • Worship services

    Worship leaders may continue to hold worship services remotely, but can now offer in-person services with no cap on attendance, as long as physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained between families and household cohorts.

    Congregational singing is a high-risk activity and is discouraged.

    Guidance for places of worship

  • Weddings and funerals

    For weddings and funerals, there is a:

    • 50-person limit on indoor wedding or funeral receptions as they are considered social gatherings, which have a higher-risk of transmission. This is due to the social nature of these types of events, where 2 meters of physical distancing between people is difficult to maintain. Evidence shows there is a greater risk of transmission in an indoor gathering compared to an outdoor gathering.
    • 100-person limit on indoor wedding ceremonies or funeral services as they are seated events and individuals not from the same household should maintain 2 metres’ distance. As these events are more stationary in nature, there is less social interaction and therefore less risk of transmission.
    • 100-person limit outdoor gatherings. As indicated, outdoor events are considered lower risk than indoor events because it typically is easier to maintain distancing, there are less shared surfaces that are touched and air circulation limits the suspension of droplets in the air. However, close contact (less than 2 meters) and sharing food or drinks can significantly increase the risk of spread, even in an outdoor setting. Attendees should maintain physical distancing and observe public health recommendations such as practicing good hygiene and wearing a mask.

    Guidance for funeral homes (PDF, 574 KB)

  • Indoor entertainment facilities

    Indoor interactive attractions and entertainment venues can reopen including: arcades, trampoline parks, bowling alleys, billiard halls, mini-golf courses, laser tag and paintball.

    Movie theatres, live music (instrumental), dance and theatre performances can reopen with a maximum of 100 people seated at least 2 metres apart.

    For more information, see Relaunch guidance documents

  • Indoor fitness and recreation

    Pools, arenas, community centres, indoor gyms, indoor fitness centres, indoor studios and recreation centres that offer or provide access to sport, physical activity and recreation programming can reopen as part of Stage 2.

    Guidance for indoor sport, physical activity and recreation (PDF, 663 KB)

  • Outdoor recreation

    Albertans are permitted to participate in a number of outdoor activities – as long as they do so with common sense and follow all public health orders and guidelines.

    • individual, non-organized outdoor recreation
    • camping (provincial campgrounds can now operate at full capacity under stage 2)
    • activities in public or private facilities that municipalities or operators have reopened:
      • lakes, parks and trails
      • open fields like soccer pitches or ball diamonds
      • sports courts
      • playgrounds
      • dog parks
    • activities at outdoor facilities that have been allowed to reopen:
      • golf courses
      • outdoor gun ranges
      • hunting, fishing lodges, camps and outfitters
      • spray parks and wading pools

    For more information, see: Relaunch guidance documents

  • Team sports

    With modifications, team sports are permitted under Stage 2, including contact sports.

    Sports teams can play in region-only cohort groups of up to 50 players or “mini leagues”.

    If participating in or organizing a sports activity as part of a cohort group:

    • avoid travel outside of regions
    • tournaments and large events are prohibited
    • clean shared equipment regularly
    • maintain physical distancing when not in play (for example, players on the bench)
    • decrease/eliminate use of shared locker rooms

    For more information, see: Relaunch guidance documents

  • Public transit

    There is no gathering limit on public transit, but transit providers must to take steps to prevent the risk of transmission of infection.

    Transit riders are encouraged to wear non-medical masks.

  • Businesses and workplaces

    A business that is not otherwise restricted or ordered to close can have more than 50 people onsite at an indoor location and more than 100 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.

  • Industrial work camps

    Industrial work camp dining facilities - operators must implement practices to reduce the number of people together in one dining facility location at one time.

  • Shelters and temporary or transitional housing

    Shelters, temporary or transitional housing facilities and licensed residential addiction treatment housing facilities.

Activities not permitted

Unless an exemption has been provided, the following activities are not permitted:

  • gatherings larger than permitted
  • major festivals and concerts, large conferences and events
  • major sporting events and tournaments with attendees in audience
  • amusement parks
  • nightclubs

High-risk activities

COVID-19 can be transmitted by touching objects or surfaces the virus has landed on then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Activities that carry this risk are not recommended, even with physical distancing in place, including:

  • sharing food, drinks or utensils
  • sharing equipment
  • close-range conversations
  • direct physical contact or touch with people outside of your household

Singing

Singing is a high-risk activity because infected people can transmit the virus through their saliva or respiratory droplets. There is no evidence to determine exactly what a safe distance would be between singers and others, but greater distances can reduce risk.

Congregational singing is strongly discouraged. Consider a soloist or instrumental music instead.

Gatherings that include singing – ideally soloists or small groups – should take as many of the following precautions as possible:

  • 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
  • use pre-prepared audio or video recordings
  • have singers wear facemasks while singing

Reduce the risk at gatherings

  • 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
  • For audience-type events, provide the necessary space between families and cohorts
  • 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)
  • 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

Prevent the spread

Practice good hygiene

  • Stay home and away from others if you have any symptoms
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Don't touch your face with unclean hands

When going in public spaces

  • Plan your activity in advance to ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres is possible
  • Consider going during non-peak hours
  • Wear a mask to help limit the risk of spread to others
  • Download and use the mobile contact tracing app

See more ways to help prevent the spread