Alberta Government Announces Further Gathering Restrictions

On November 24, 2020, Premier Jason Kenney declared a public state of emergency and the Government of Alberta implemented new mandatory public health measures, some of which came into effect immediately.

The state of public health emergency was declared after the Government of Alberta reported a total of 50,801 COVID-19 cases in the Province of Alberta, with 1,265 new cases on November 24, 2020. To date there are 355 people in hospital with 71 in intensive care. There have been 3,582 recovered cases and 500 COVID-19 related deaths in Alberta.

Across the Province of Alberta the following measures have been implemented:

  • No indoor social gatherings of any kind in any setting effective November 24, 2020
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people effective November 24, 2020
  • Wedding and funeral services are limited to a maximum of 10 people, with no receptions permitted
  • No festivals or events are permitted
  • Grades 7 to 12 begin at-home learning on November 30, 2020 and will continue to January 11, 2021
  • ECS to Grade 6 will commence holiday break on December 18, 2020 and at-home learning will begin following the holiday break and continue to January 11, 2021
  • Working from home should be considered, where possible

In Calgary and Edmonton, the following additional measures have been implemented:

  • Restricted access and closures for some businesses starting November 27, 2020
  • Mandatory masks for indoor workspaces starting November 24, 2020

Business and Service Closures and Restrictions

Closed for In-Person Service

Businesses that are closed for in-person services include banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoriums, concert venues, non-approved markets and community centres. Indoor playgrounds and all level of sporting events have been cancelled.

Restricted In-Person Services

Restaurant, bars, pubs and lounges will remain open as long as they follow all public health guidance. This includes a maximum of six people from the same immediate household at a table with no movement between tables. People who live alone can meet up with two non-household contacts as long as they’re the same two people throughout the duration of these new restrictions.

Liquor may be sold until 10:00 p.m. and food-serving establishments must close in-person dining at 11:00 p.m. The Government of Alberta is encouraging people to use take-out, delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up options.

The following retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code:

  • Retail, including liquor and cannabis
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Clothing stores
  • Computer and technology stores
  • Hardware
  • Automotive
  • Farmers markets approve by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets

In-Person Services by Appointment Only

Businesses that may remain open by appointment only include personal service businesses such as hair salons and barbershops; wellness services; professional services; private one-on-one lessons; and hotels.

Albertans are encouraged to follow existing public health measures such as staying two metres apart when possible, and wearing masks when not possible, washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes. If sick, Albertans should stay home, get tested and follow mandatory isolation requirements while awaiting test results.

Enforcement and Fines

If a person violates a public health order, they may be subject to a $1,000 fine. A contravention may lead to prosecution for up to $100,000 for a first offence. The Government of Alberta has also announced that it will  review these new mandatory measures within three weeks to determine whether any of the restrictions may be lifted or if further restrictions are required.

Calgary Mayor Declares State of Emergency

On November 25, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared a local state of emergency. This declaration does not introduce any additional restrictions. Declaration of a state of emergency assists the city in securing supplies, assist with vulnerable populations, and access funds from different levels of government.

The state of emergency may allow for the declaration of new measures. However, Mayor Nenshi assured Calgarians that any orders that are issued will be complimentary with what the Province has implemented. Anyone who sees violations in progress should call 311 or the police non-emergency line.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.