With the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic grappling much of Canada, many of the provinces have implemented varying public health measures to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. This week both Alberta and Saskatchewan have made announcements regarding the situation in their provinces. Here’s what you need to know.
Alberta: Outdoor Dining Suspended
The government of Alberta introduced a series of new public health measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the province, which includes the closure of patio dining at restaurants and bars.
In a press conference held on May 4, Alberta Premiere, Jason Kenney, stated that these stricter measures were needed to keep the province’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
Province-wide restrictions are currently in place but new measures come into effect today and will apply to all communities with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases:
- Indoor gatherings are prohibited
- Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 5 individuals with a maximum of two households and physical distancing measures must be maintained
- Capacity at retail stores is limited to 10% of fire code occupancy (excluding staff) or a minimum of 5 customers
- Any workplace with 3 or more cases of COVID-19 will be required to close for 10 days (work camps, essential and critical services are excluded)
Effective May 9 at 11:59 pm, in-person dining on patios at restaurants, bars, pubs, lounges and cafés will be prohibited across the entire province. Only take-out or delivery services will be permitted.
These new restrictions will be in place for at least 3 weeks and will be extended if necessary.
Saskatchewan: Reopening Plan Released
The Government of Saskatchewan released a three-step plan yesterday outlining the gradual easing of COVID-19 public health restrictions. The "Re-Opening Roadmap" is a plan based on vaccination levels across the province and is welcomed news for food businesses.
The three steps in the plan are broken down as follows.
Three weeks after 70% of individuals 45 years old and older have received their first dose:
- Restaurants and bars can open for dining with a maximum of 6 customers per table
- Private indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 individuals
- Public indoor gatherings will be limited to 30 individuals
- Public outdoor gatherings will be limited to 150 individuals
Three weeks after 70% of individuals 30 years old and older have received their first dose:
- Restrictions on table capacity at restaurants and bars will be removed but physical distancing and table barriers must remain in place
- Capacity restrictions for retail businesses will be removed as long as physical distancing measures are maintained
- Capacity at event centres, casinos, bingo halls, theatres, etc, will be limited to 150 customers
- Private indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 15 individuals
Three weeks after 70% of individuals 18 years old and older have received their first dose:
- Most restrictions will be lifted
Based on the current rate of vaccination in the province, it is expected that Step One will be implemented as early as the last week of May. However, it is important to note that these estimates are dependent on the current rate of vaccination and vaccine availability.
Until Step One of the Re-Opening Roadmap is implemented, all current public health orders will remain in place.
The Canadian Institute of Food Safety will continue to monitor the situation in these provinces and across the country and provide updates as they occur.