As the fourth wave of COVID-19 decimates Alberta’s healthcare system, Premier Jason Kenney is bringing in additional measures including a vaccine passport program.
Kenney declared a state of public health emergency Wednesday night saying the province could run out of intensive care beds and staff to manage patients who have been stricken with the virus within the next 10 days.
The Premier also apologized saying it is now clear his government was wrong to do some of the things it did.
Alberta Health said Wednesday it had identified 1,609 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours out of 15,831 tests and that the active case count was now at 18,421. 877 people are in hospital with 218 in the ICU.
As of 12:01 AM Thursday, the following is happening
- Private indoor social gatherings for fully vaccinated individuals will be limited to those of the same household and one other household to a maximum of 10 people. No restrictions will be placed on children under 12.
- Those 12 years of age or older who are unvaccinated are prohibited from attending any indoor social gathering.
- A mandatory work-from-home order will be in effect, with exceptions in cases where an employer has determined a physical presence is required.
- Outdoor private social gatherings are permitted to a maximum of 200 people, with two-metre physical distancing maintained at all times. Outdoor events and facilities with no indoor portion (excluding washrooms) will have no attendance restrictions, however two-metre physical distancing must be in place.
- Places of worship must limit attendance to one-third fire code capacity. Face masks will be mandatory and there must be two-metre physical distancing between households or two close contacts for those living alone.
- Mandatory masking for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades. Schools that can implement an alternate COVID safety plan can be exempted from mandatory masking. Elementary schools are to implement class cohorting.
- Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain two-metre distance when engaged in physical activity. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
- Indoor sports/performance/recreation/special interests are permitted with requirements for two-metre physical distancing, where possible.
- Children’s sport/performance/recreation (extracurricular sports, performance, recreation and special interest):
Indoor activities are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking where possible, and symptom screening for participants.
Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain physical distancing during a physical activity, such as a team sport. Spectator attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity. Attendees must be masked and ensure physical distancing between different households or an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
Children’s day camps must have two-metre physical distancing between participants and masking indoors. Children’s overnight camps must follow cohort models.
As of Monday, the following restrictions will also begin
- Outdoor dining only with a maximum of six individuals per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone).
- Liquor sales and consumption restrictions (10 p.m. sales and 11 p.m. consumption) apply.
- Restaurants are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.
- Weddings and funerals: All indoor ceremonies and services are limited to 50 attendees or 50 per cent fire code capacity, whichever is less. No indoor receptions are permitted. The hosting facility would be eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.
- All outdoor ceremonies and services for weddings and funerals must be limited to 200 attendees. Outdoor receptions are required to follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (i.e., sales end at 10 p.m. and consumption ends by 11 p.m.).
- The hosting facility would be eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.
- Retail, entertainment and recreation facilities (includes any indoor venues, libraries, conferences, rental spaces, concerts, nightclubs, casinos and similar):
- Attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity and attendees are only permitted to attend with their household or two close contacts for those living alone. Attendees must be masked and have two-metre physical distancing between households.
- These facilities are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.
- Adult (over 18 years old) sport, fitness, performance, and recreation: Indoor activities: No indoor group classes or activities are permitted. One-on-one training or individual workouts are permitted but three-metre physical distancing is required. No contact between players; indoor competitions are paused except where vaccine exemptions have been granted. These facilities and programs are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program. Specific exemptions may also be granted on a case-by-case basis. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
Those who are eligible will also have 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 as of September 20.
Alberta now joins B.C, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba as provinces implementing a vaccine passport program.