Restrictions Exemption Program comes to an end in Alberta

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The UCP announced a three-step removal of COVID-19 restrictions starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night. The province will remove further restrictions, including mandatory masks, at the end of the month, and others in step three are dependent on hospital numbers. 

“The last two years have taken a significant toll on Albertans’ overall health, social and economic well-being,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a media release following his update Tuesday. “Now that we are through the worst of the fifth wave and have achieved high vaccination rates, it is time to shift to a balanced approach where we are able to live with COVID-19 and return to normal.”

NDP Health Critic David Shepherd criticized the move, stating the government made the decision without consulting municipalities, some of which have their own local public health measures in place

“It was made without clear communication to Albertans about the path ahead,” Shepherd said, adding public health mandates should not be set by individuals illegally blocking access to our border. “It should be made when we see clear evidence that it is safe to move away from those public health restrictions.”

Below is the list of restrictions and their removal times:

Step one

Effective Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m.:

  • Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) ends, along with most associated restrictions.
  • Entertainment venues will continue to have some specific rules in place: 
    • Restrictions on sale of food and beverages and consumption while seated in audience settings will be removed.
    • Restrictions on closing times, alcohol service, table capacity in restaurants and interactive activities will remain in force.
  • For all businesses, venues and facilities – whether they were previously eligible for the REP or not – capacity limits are removed, except for: 
    • Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000, which will be limited to 500.
    • Facilities with capacity of 1,000-plus, which will be limited to 50 per cent.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 13:

  • Masks will no longer be required for all children and youth in schools.
  • Masks will no longer be required in any setting for children aged 12 and under.

Step two

Effective March 1:

  • Any remaining provincial school requirements (including co-horting) will be removed.
  • Screening prior to youth activities will no longer be required.
  • Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues.
  • Limits on social gatherings will be removed.
  • Provincial mask mandate will be removed.
  • Mandatory work from home removed.

Step three

To be determined based on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downwards

  • COVID-specific measures in continuing care will be removed.
  • Mandatory isolation becomes a recommendation only.

Additional details on all restrictions and measures in place will be released prior to each step at alberta.ca/CovidMeasures.