Insights and Analysis

Alberta Premier Kenney Declares Public Health Emergency, and Announces New Vaccine Requirements and COVID-19 Restrictions

Following a number of weeks of increased COVID cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and, unfortunately, deaths as a result of the COVID virus, Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro finally admitted that Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan and related claim that the province had moved from a pandemic to an endemic was premature.  As a result, a Public Health Emergency was declared yesterday, along with new vaccine requirements and COVID restrictions.  Some of these restrictions are in effect immediately and include:

  • Mandatory work from home measures
  • Indoor private gatherings are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 people
    • Attendance at indoor private gatherings is not permitted for vaccine-eligible individuals who are unvaccinated
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people with two-metre physical distancing requirements
  • Places of worship are limited to one-third fire capacity and face-masks are mandatory
  • Schools – Mandatory masking for students in grades four and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.  Schools that implement a COVID safety plan can be exempted from mandatory masking
  • Children’s Indoor sports are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking

Starting September 20th, a number of other measures take effect and include:

  • Restaurants – Outdoor dining only with a maximum of six people per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone)
  • Liquor sales and consumption restrictions (10 pm sales and 11 pm consumption) apply
  • Retail, Entertainment and Recreation Facilities – Attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity and all attendees are permitted to attend with their household (or two close contacts for those living alone).  Attendees must be masked and have two-meter physical distancing between households; 
  • Adult Sport, Fitness, Performance and Recreation – no indoor group classes;  one-on-one training or individual workouts are permitted with three-metre physical distancing

Along with these restrictions, the province will be introducing the “Restrictions Exemption Program” which will allow restaurants, retail and other businesses to be exempted from these restrictions if they implement a proof of immunization/proof of negative test program. 

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