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A Second State of Public of Health Emergency Declared in Alberta


By McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Team

On Tuesday, November 24, 2020, Premier Jason Kenney declared a second state of public health emergency to address the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the province. In addition to the state of emergency, the Premier announced several new targeted restrictions. The announced measures will be in effect for three weeks, at which point the government will re-evaluate the restrictions.

Business and services restrictions

The following temporary business and service restrictions will come into effect on Friday, November 27, 2020 in regions under enhanced status (which includes Edmonton, Calgary, and certain other parts of the province):

  • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, concert venues, community centres, children’s’ playgrounds, and indoor playgrounds are closed for in-person service;
  • All levels of sport are suspended, subject to an approved exemption;
  • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and lounges may remain open if they comply with the following public health measures:
    • A maximum of six people from the same immediate household at a table;
    • Albertans who live alone can meet with up to two non-household contacts as long as those contacts remain the same;
    • Only seated eating and drinking is permitted; and
    • Liquor sales must cease at 10 p.m. and establishments must close to in-person dining at 11 p.m.
  • Masks are mandatory in all indoor workplaces, except when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle.
  • Employers are encouraged to allow employees to work from home, where possible.
  • Many businesses, including retail, liquor and cannabis, grocery, and automotive stores may remain open at 25% occupancy capacity set under the Alberta Fire Code.
  • Certain entertainment and event services, including movie theatres, museums, galleries, libraries, and indoor entertainment centres may remain open at 25% occupancy capacity set under the Alberta Fire Code.
  • Casinos, offering slot machines only, may remain open at 25% occupancy capacity set under the Alberta Fire Code.
  • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics, and private or public swimming pools can only be open for individual studio time, training, or exercise only.
  • Businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services and appointments should be limited to one-on-one services. Such businesses include:
    • Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, piercing, and tattoo services;
    • Wellness services, including acupuncture, massage, and reflexology; and
    • Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, and accountants.
  • All faith-based services are restricted to one-third of maximum capacity. Families must be socially distanced and masks are required.

Social restrictions and school structure changes

The following temporary and province-wide restrictions will be in effect as of Tuesday, November 24, 2020:

  • No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting, and indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have any indoor component.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funeral services are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Receptions are not permitted.
  • Grade 7-12 students will transition to at-home learning on November 30, 2020 until January 8, 2021, and Grade K-6 students will continue in-person learning until their scheduled winter break generally beginning December 18, 2020 unless otherwise scheduled.
  • In-person classes will resume for all grades on January 11, 2021.
  • Diploma exams are optional for the rest of the school year.

The state of emergency and associated restrictions impose additional obligations on employers regarding the health and safety of their workplaces. The Labour and Employment Group at McLennan Ross understands the difficulties that these closures and restrictions place on your operations and are here to assist with any questions you may have. If you have any questions regarding this alert or any other labour and employment matters, please feel free to contact any member of our Labour & Employment Practice Group.

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