New COVID-19 restrictions now in effect across Alberta

Restrictions announced Tuesday by the provincial government are now in effect throughout Alberta to contain the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Most of the new rules affect capacity limits and size of gatherings at large-scale venues, bars, restaurants and pubs.

Alberta reported 1,625 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 318 people are being treated in hospitals for the coronavirus, 64 of which are in intensive care.

With Omicron cases in Alberta doubling every two to three days, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw urges people to limit their number of personal social contacts.

“I would ask people to consider not only the risk to themselves, but also the risk to those around us,” Hinshaw said.

INSIDE SOCIAL MEETINGS

After Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s announcement last week, more than two families can gather indoors during the holiday season.

Private indoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people aged 18 or over. If accompanied by a parent or guardian, there are no limits for those 17 years and under.

There are no more additional restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, who are now allowed to gather under the new guidelines.

According to Alberta Health, Albertans should “abstain” from social gatherings at work.

There is a limit of 20 people for private outdoor social gatherings and two meters of physical distance between households must be maintained.

RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS, BARS AND NIGHT CLUBS

Businesses in this category that participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program must end the beverage service at 11 PM and may not stay open later than 12.30 PM

There is a limit of 10 people per table and there is no mixing between tables.

Billiards, dancing, darts and other “interactive activities” are not allowed under the new restrictions.

Indoor dining is prohibited at companies that do not apply the Restrictions Exemption Program.

INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT AND LEISURE FACILITIES

All indoor entertainment, event, and recreational facilities applying the Restriction Exemption Program must limit their capacity to 50 percent if their location accommodates more than 1,000 people.

If a venue has between 500 and 1,000 people, only 500 people are allowed.

No food or drink may be consumed while seated in a public setting or during a break in entertainment or recreational facilities with more than 500 seats.

According to Cineplex, each theater will be capped at 499, most of which cannot reach that capacity. As theaters remain under the 500 capacity limit, food and drinks can still be consumed seated.

All indoor facilities not utilizing the Restrictions Exemption Program are limited to one third of the fire code capacity.

There are no capacity restrictions for completely outdoor entertainment events other than maintaining social distancing.

For more information, visit the Alberta Health website.

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