As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Alberta, last week the provincial government announced new restrictions for individuals and businesses.
On March 27, the Alberta government ordered businesses deemed non-essential to close effective immediately, following measures previously implemented in Ontario and Quebec.
In addition, Premier Jason Kenney announced that mass gatherings will be limited to 15 people and more restrictions will be placed on available services.
What is considered an essential service?
Workplaces that are operating as an essential service can continue to provide services at locations accessible to the public, and are permitted to have more than 15 people on site. This is as long as they follow all public health guidelines, including having sanitation stations and appropriate distancing between customers.
The following businesses and services are listed as essential:
- Health, medical and public health services, including emergency medical services, Canadian Blood Services, and emergency dental and optometry
- Public safety and security services
- Food and shelter, including butchers, bakers, and fishmongers, hotels and other similar facilities, and food delivery services
- Energy and utilities
- Transportation, including supply chain businesses, taxis, postal, courier and parcel delivery services
- Petroleum, natural gas and coal, including petroleum refinery facilities and crude oil storage faclities
- Agricultural and horticultural
- Retail (with the exception of non-essential retail services), including grocery stores, pet-food stores, and others
- Financial services
- Information and telecommunications
- Public administration and government
- Businesses providing mailing, shipping, courier and delivery services, including post office boxes
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
- Professional services including lawyers and paralegals, engineers, accountants, translators
- Businesses providing funeral, mortician, cremation, transfer, and burial services, and any related goods and products (such as coffins and embalming fluid)
- Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services
- Businesses providing security services including private security guards; monitoring or surveillance equipment and services
- Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary help
- Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses
- Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers
- Child care services for essential workers, and home child care services of less than six children
- Environmental services for agriculture, mining, oil and gas
- Waste management including landfills and hazardous waste treatment
The above categories are further expanded upon on the Alberta Government's website.
What is considered a non-essential service?
The Alberta government has provided a list of the non-essential businesses that are required to close immediately. Businesses not listed can still continue if they can offer curbside pickup or online shopping, and if they don't fall under previous business, workplace and facility closures. Non-essential retail businesses include:
- Personal and cosmetic services including hair salons and barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios and esthetic services.
- Wellness studios and clinics including massage and reflexology.
- Non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
- Retail stores including clothing and gaming stores, book stores, hobby stores and antique stores.
- Dine-in restaurant services. Restaurants are still permitted to offer takeout and delivery.
Previously, the government ordered these recreational and entertainment facilities to close:
- Gyms, swimming pools, arenas
- Science centres, museums, art galleries
- Libraries, community centres, children's play centres, bowling alleys
- Bars and nightclubs, where law prohibits minors
- Casinos, racing entertainment centres, bingo halls
Any business or organization not following the public health order will be subject to a fine. Courts have the power to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations. Individuals aware of any businesses violating these orders should submit a complaint online immediately.