Alberta Government Announces Further Gathering Restrictions

This blog was originally published on November 2, 2020 and has been updated to reflect the most current public health orders.

On December 8, the Alberta Government announced province-wide mandatory masking and a prohibition on all indoor and outdoor social gatherings, effective immediately. Additional restrictions, including business closures, come into effect on December 13 at 12:01 a.m. These new additional measure will remain in effect for a minimum of four weeks.

The following measures are effective as of December 8, 2020 across the Province of Alberta:

Social Gathering Restrictions

  • No indoor or outdoor social gatherings of any kind in any public or private setting
  • Close contacts are limited to household members only
    • People who live alone can meet up with two non-household contacts as long as they are the same two people throughout the duration of these new restrictions.
  • Festivals, parades, events, concerts, exhibitions, competitions, all levels of sporting events, concerts and performances remain prohibited
  • Grades 7 to 12 began 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 is recommended where possible, and becomes mandatory on December 13, 2020

Mandatory Masking Requirements

  • Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces including:
    • Public spaces where a business or organization operates, which applies to employees, visitors and the general public
    • Indoor workplaces and facilities outside of the home
  • Exceptions to this requirement include farm operations and rental accommodations used for the purposes of a private residence
The following measures take effect on December 13 at 12:01 a.m. across the Province of Alberta:

Limited Places of Worship

  • In-person attendance at all places of worship limited to 15% of Fire Code occupancy
  • Attendees of in-person worship services must adhere to mandatory masking, physical distancing and other health guidelines
  • Virtual or online services are strongly encouraged
  • Drive-in services that adhere to guidelines are permissible and are not subject to capacity restrictions, as long as individuals remain in their vehicles

Restricted Retail Services

  • Retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 15 per cent of Fire Code occupancy or five people (whichever is more)
  • Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are strongly encouraged at this time
  • Shopping malls will be limited to 15% of Fire Code occupancy

Work from Home Measures

  • Mandatory work from home measures will be implemented unless an employer determines that a physical presence is required at work for operational effectiveness

Restricted In-Person Services

  • Restaurant, bars, pubs and lounges will be closed for in-person service. Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted
  • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions and private clubs will be closed
  • Recreational facilities including fitness centres, recreation centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios, day and overnight camps, indoor rinks and arenas will be closed
  • Outdoor recreation is permitted, but facilities with indoor spaces except for washrooms will be closed
  • Entertainment businesses and entities including libraries, science and interpretive centres, museums, galleries, amusement parks and water parks will be closed
  • Personal and wellness services must close including hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos and piercing will be closed
  • Hotels are permitted to remain open but are limited to room service only and must follow restrictions. Spas, pools or in-person dining facilities are required to close

In-Person Services Permitted

The services that are permitted to remain open for in-person attendance include physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens.

Business and Service Closures and Restrictions ongoing from November 27, 2020

Businesses that remain 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 levels of sporting events have been cancelled.

Albertans are encouraged to continue following existing public health measures such as staying two metres apart when possible, wearing masks in all public spaces, 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 $1,000.00 fine. A contravention may lead to prosecution for up to $100,000 for a first offence. The restrictions are in place for at least four weeks; however, the Government of Alberta 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.

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.