Alberta announced a slew of restrictions today and also declared a provincial health emergency.
The province is also implementing a restrictions exemption program.
This means that starting Sept. 20, businesses or event organizers who choose to implement a program checking patrons for government-issued proof of vaccination or a recent negative privately purchased COVID-19 test will be able to have an exemption to restrictions.
If a business or service chooses not to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test, they will be required to adhere to the new health measures.
Announcing the new exemption program, Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro said, “The new proof of vaccination requirements will make us all safer. This will help increase vaccination rates across the province and protect Albertans in settings that pose a higher risk of transmission. We’ve seen from other jurisdictions that proof of vaccinations do help encourage people to get vaccinated, and I am calling on every eligible Albertan to get fully immunized as soon as possible.”
What this means:
For example, a restaurant implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program can operate as usual without any restrictions. Otherwise, starting Sept. 20th, only outdoor dining (no indoor dining) is allowed with a maximum of six individuals per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone). The liquor sales should also end at 10pm, and consumption by 11pm.
If an entertainment venue decides not to implement the restrictions exemption program, capacity will be restricted to 1/3 fire code occupancy. In addition, attendees must be with household members only, or 2 close contacts if they live alone. Masks and 2-metre physical distancing is also required. The same rules apply to recreation facilities.
For gyms that choose not to check for COVID-19 vaccine proof or test, indoor group classes and activities will be not permitted, indoor competitions are paused and indoor one-on-one training and solo activities are only allowed with 3-metre physical distancing.
For weddings and funeral venues, indoor wedding and funeral receptions will be prohibited, unless the hosting facility implements the restrictions exemption program. In addition, all outdoor ceremonies and services for weddings and funerals must be limited to 200 attendees, and liquor sales and consumption restrictions will also be in place.
Major venues like Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Rogers Place in Edmonton have already implemented mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations to attend events and programs.
Dates when effective:
For those 12+ wanting to access restaurants, gyms and other venues participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, proof of vaccination or documentation of a medical exemption is required.
From Sept. 20 to Oct. 25, proof of only a single dose given at least 14 days prior is required. Proof of double vaccination is required starting Oct. 25th.
What is Restrictions Exemption Program:
Starting Sept. 20, those aged 12+ will be required to provide government-issued proof of immunization or a negative privately paid COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours to access a variety of participating social, recreational and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province.
To enter certain spaces that are participating in the program, including restaurants, bars and indoor organized events, people aged 12 and older will be required to show their proof of vaccination or a negative recent test result.
Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program can operate as usual, provided they are serving only people who have proof of immunization or who have a recent privately paid negative test, as per the requirements in place.
This means they could immediately and without restriction serve any individual eligible for vaccination who:
- Has proof of double vaccination (note that for a transitional period between Sept. 20 and Oct. 25, proof of a single dose would be considered acceptable as long as the dose was given two weeks or more before the time of service).
- Has documentation of a medical exemption.
- Has proof of a recent (within the previous 72 hours) negative COVID-19 test (either PCR or Rapid Test). The test may not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
- Those under age 12 would not need to provide proof of immunization or a negative test to enter a participating business.
- This program would not apply to businesses or entities that need to be accessed for daily living.
This program would not apply to businesses or entities that need to be accessed for daily living.
How to get proof of vaccination:
Albertans can access copies of their COVID-19 vaccination records through MyHealth Records. Card-sized printable vaccine proof will be available starting September 19th.