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St. Albert to require vaccine passports in city facilities Sept. 20

Vaccine passports will be required at all recreational and cultural facilities in St. Albert starting Monday, but will not be required to vote at Servus Place.
St. Albert Place
City facilities such as St. Albert Place have been deemed essential and therefore will not require a vaccine passport, the city announced in a release Friday night. FILE/Photo

St. Albert has confirmed the date it will begin to require vaccine passports in city facilities, according to a news release sent out Friday evening. 

As of Sept. 20, these facilities will require those aged 12 and over to show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of service, or documentation of a medical exemption. The facilities affected include: Servus Place, Fountain Park Recreation Centre, Jarome Iginla and Kinex Arenas, the Arden Theatre, and the City Arts Space. 

The new regulations are a result of St. Albert city council’s decision to implement the province’s new vaccine passports program, called the “restriction exemption program.” The program was revealed by Premier Jason Kenney Wednesday evening, as part of a wider public health emergency announcement. 

The release noted other city facilities such as St. Albert Place have been deemed essential and therefore will not require a vaccine passport. 

“As we launch the Restriction Exemption Program, we ask St. Albertans to arrive at facilities a little earlier than normal,” the city said in the release. “Please be patient with city staff as they review vaccination statuses and negative test results.”

City council met Thursday morning to decide whether city facilities would adopt the vaccine passport program, or opt to follow restrictions that would limit capacity and require physical distancing. 

The vote to implement the program passed unanimously, with Coun. Sheena Hughes absent from the meeting. 

At that time, city administration was unable to confirm the date the program would be officially implemented in city facilities due to confusion about Servus place becoming a federal voting station on Sept. 20. 

“At this point, we are unsure whether, if council implemented the restriction exemption program, we could operate that in parallel with the federal election, because we can’t restrict anyone’s right to vote,” chief administrative officer Kevin Scoble said. 

The province has confirmed on their website that proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place and cast a ballot. Instead, the website reads that Elections Canada has “health and safety measures in place to support physical distancing, masking, and other important ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.”

More information will be shared on St. Albert’s website and via the city’s social media channels, the Friday news release said. 

Morinville implements vaccine passports in two facilities

St. Albert's neighbouring municiaplity, the Town of Morinville, will also be following the province's vaccine passport program in two of its facilities. 

As of Sept. 20, the Morinville Leisure Centre and Morinville Community Cultural Centre will follow the restriction exemption program. The program will not apply to Morinville's town office. 

More information will be shared through the city's website.