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New COVID-19 Restrictions Imposed in Alberta


by The McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Group

On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced several mandatory restrictions that will be implemented province-wide in response to Alberta’s COVID-19 infection rates. The new restrictions will remain in effect for a minimum of four weeks, at which point the Alberta government will re-evaluate the restrictions.

First, effective immediately, all indoor and outdoor social gatherings are prohibited and the wearing of a mask is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and indoor workplaces, with exceptions for farming operations and rental accommodations. 

Second, the following additional business and service restrictions come into effect at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020:

  • All places of worship are limited to 15% of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance, and online or drive-in services are strongly encouraged;
  • Retail services and shopping malls must reduce customer capacity to 15% of fire code occupancy;
  • Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes are closed to in-person dining, and are limited to takeout, pickup, and delivery services;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions, and private clubs are closed;
  • Libraries, science centres, interpretive centres, museums, galleries, amusement parks, and water parks are closed;
  • Hotels may remain open but must close fitness centres, spas, pools, and restaurant facilities;
  • Recreational facilities, including fitness centres, recreation centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios, day and overnight camps, indoor rinks, and arenas are closed;
  • Outdoor recreation, such as outdoor skating rinks and ski hills, may remain open in accordance with current restrictions and health guidelines; and
  • Personal and wellness services, including hair salons and barber shops, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing are closed.

Health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency and addiction services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens may remain open for in-person attendance.

Third, the Alberta government has implemented a province-wide mandatory work from home requirement, unless the employer determines that work requires a physical presence for operational effectiveness. The work from home requirement will also come into effect on Sunday, December 13, 2020.

Finally, the following province-wide restrictions that were announced on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 also remain in effect:

  • No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting, and indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household. Individuals who live alone will be allowed up to two close contacts for in-person visiting, with those two people remaining the same for the duration of the restriction period.
  • Festivals, parades, events, concerts, exhibitions, competitions, sport and performance are prohibited.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funeral services are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Receptions are not permitted.
  • All levels of sport are suspended.
  • Grade 7-12 students will continue with at-home learning, and Grade K-6 students will transition to at-home learning on December 18, 2020.

The province’s current state of emergency and associated restrictions impose additional obligations on employers and the health and safety of their workplaces. The Labour & Employment team 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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