COVID-19 Update: More Details on Alberta’s Health Restrictions

Everything you need to know about the province’s public health restrictions and their Restrictions Exemption Program.
September 20, 2021

Starting September 20, Alberta is implementing public health restrictions on specific businesses and events to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health released the CMOH Order 42-2021 outlining masking, physical distancing, social gathering and business restrictions. Any business that wants to operate without the majority of public health restrictions outlined in the order cancan choose to participate in the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program (REP).

Mandatory masking

An individual must wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces, including at a wedding ceremony or funeral service held indoors.

People who are exempted from the mask mandate include:

  • Children under two years of age
  • Individuals who are unable to use or remove a face mask without assistance
  • People who are consuming food or drink while seated at a table
  • People who are consuming food or drink while standing at a table, as long as they remain standing at the table at all times while eating or drinking
  • An individual temporarily removing their face mask to establish their identity (e.g. when a business is checking their ID)
  • People who work at a farming or ranching business, unless they are interacting with the public

Physical distancing requirements

An individual must maintain a physical distance of two metres from other people outside of their household for all indoor and outdoor activities. This includes people attending an outdoor private social gathering such as a wedding or funeral service or reception where the only indoor spaces are washroom facilities.

Private social gathering limitations

Private social gatherings taking place in an indoor public space, including indoor wedding or funeral receptions, are prohibited. Wedding ceremonies or funeral services are permitted at an indoor public space, with a capacity limit of 50 people or 50 percent of the total operational occupant load, whichever is less, as determined in accordance with the Alberta Fire Code and the fire authority within the jurisdiction.

Outdoor wedding or funeral services and receptions are permitted with a capacity limit of 200 people.

Business restrictions

  • Restaurants are permitted to provide outdoor dining only, with a limit of six people of the same household or three people for those who live on their own.
  • Restaurants must require their customers to remain seated while eating or drinking. They must not interact with other customers seated or standing at a different table.
  • Licensed businesses, including bars, restaurants, lounges, pubs and cafes must stop selling liquor at 10 pm. Consumption of liquor must end by 11 pm.
  • Casinos, bowling alleys, pool halls, bingo halls and other indoor entertainment facilities must must stop selling liquor at 10 pm. Consumption of liquor must end by 11 pm.
  • A person holding a Special Event Licence must stop selling or serving liquor at 10 pm. Consumption of liquor at the event must end by 11 pm.
  • Selling food or drinks, including liquor, by takeout, delivery or drive through services is still permitted after 10 pm.

Restrictions Exemption Program

Businesses and event organizers can choose to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) in order to operate without the majority of public health restrictions as outlined in the public health order above. This is an optional program. Businesses who choose not to participate can continue to operate given that all restrictions outlined above are fully implemented.

Face masks are still required in all indoor public spaces, whether or not a business is participating in the REP.

To participate in the REP, businesses and event organizers must check a customer’s:

  • proof of vaccination
  • proof of a privately paid, Health Canada approved negative PCR or rapid antigen COVID-19 test result taken within the past 72 hours before trying to access the business
  • vaccine medical exception letter

The REP does not apply to:

  • children under 12 years old
  • businesses that need to be accessed for daily living purposes
  • employees, contractors, volunteers or inspectors accessing the business for work purposes

What is an acceptable proof of vaccination?

Alberta residents can use the following as proof of vaccination:

  • picture or paper record of a valid MyHealth Records, Alberta Health Services, First Nations, pharmacy or physician immunization record that displays the individual’s name, vaccine type and date of administration
  • valid Government of Alberta vaccination QR code
  • immunization record from another province or territory that displays the individual’s name, vaccine type and date of administration
  • Canadian armed forces immunization record that displays the individual’s name, vaccine type and date of administration

International travellers can use the ArriveCan application and a valid international travel identity document as their proof of vaccination.

What is a vaccine medical exception letter?

A valid medical exception letter must include:

  • name of the individual for which the exception applies
  • name, phone number, contact information, professional registration number and signature of the authorizing health professional
  • date the medical exception document was provided
  • length of time the exemption is valid

The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS) continues to monitor COVID-19 health measures as they change across the country and will provide updates related to food businesses.