Alberta Releases New Mandatory and Voluntary Targeted Public Health Measures in Response to the Rise in COVID-19 Cases

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Alberta, the Alberta government has announced targeted public health measures intended to protect the health system and limit the spread of COVID-19. These measures take effect on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Employers should carefully review these new targeted public health measures to determine if any of the mandatory measures apply and consider, on a case by case basis, whether to implement the voluntary in their workplace. Though not mandatory at this time, the voluntary measures soon could be if case counts and positivity rates continue to rise (among other relevant factors like hospital treatment capacity). When considering whether or not to adopt the voluntary measures for office settings, for example, morale, layout, square footage, efficacy of existing controls and worker compliance with those controls are all factors to consider. 

We encourage you to stay tuned as, in addition to these requirements, employers may also be required to implement additional occupational health and safety protocols and procedures to protect the health, safety and welfare of their workers and the public as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the province.

The new measures include the following:

Mandatory Measures

  • Restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs must stop liquor sales by 10pm and close by 11pm. This restrictions applies to Class A, B, or C licenses and will be in effect from November 13 to 27, 2020.
  • All private social and family gatherings are limited to 15 persons regardless of whether the gathering is fully or partially indoors or outdoors. Private social and family gatherings are defined as any social function or gathering where a group of persons come together and move freely around to associate, mix or interact with each other, instead of remaining stationary or seated.
  • All wedding ceremonies and funeral services are limited to 50 persons regardless of whether the services are held indoors or outdoors.
  • All faith-based gatherings are limited to 1/3 capacity at any one time.

Copies of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Orders detailing the mandatory measures are available online: CMOH Order 36-2020 and CMOH Order 37-2020.

Voluntary Measures

  • Albertans are urged to avoid social gatherings inside their home or outside of their community. Instead, public health officials suggest socializing outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other business that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.
  • Albertans are also urged to limit their interactions to 3 cohorts: their core household, school, and 1 other sport or social cohort. Young children who attend child care can be part of 4 cohorts.
  • Albertans are asked to wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or where there are appropriate barriers in place.
  • Employers in office settings should implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.

Additional measures apply to the Calgary area, the Edmonton area, and the cities of Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer:

Community-Specific Mandatory Measures

  • Indoor group fitness classes and team sport activities are prohibited from November 13 to 27, 2020.
  • Group performance activities such as singing, dancing and theatre are prohibited from November 13 to 27, 2020.

We urge all employers to carefully review their workplaces and their business continuity plans and to take additional steps to prepare for and mitigate against the possibility of more restrictive measures (such as caps on occupancy in offices becoming mandatory or tied to square footage) and additional closures as the situation evolves.

We will continue to update our clients with information as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.  

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