Reopening Requirements Published for Alberta Businesses; Written Plans No Longer Required

May 19, 2020

The first stage of Alberta's relaunch strategy commenced May 14, 2020. Restrictions related to COVID-19 have been lifted for most businesses, with staged delays for the cities of Calgary and Brooks. Eligible businesses should be aware of the requirements and guidelines to be followed when reopening. Public written reopening plans are no longer required.

As described in our earlier post, Alberta entered stage 1 of its relaunch strategy, entitled “Opening Soon” as planned on May 14, 2020. The specific details regarding the gradual reopening of certain classes of business are outlined in two Chief Medical Officer of Health (“CMOH”) orders. One order applies to the cities of Calgary and Brooks (CMOH Order 19-2020), where reopening is being delayed slightly as local officials deal with a relatively large number of confirmed coronavirus infections in each case. The second order applies to the rest of Alberta (CMOH Order 18-2020).

Many Businesses Can Reopen

The CMHO orders provide a pathway for many Alberta businesses to open either immediately or over the coming weeks, with a relatively short list of business categories that must remain closed:

  • Personal service businesses (other than hairstyling and barber services);
  • Wellness service businesses;
  • Non-essential health services (unless provided by a regulated member of a college);
  • Businesses that offer or provide access to a recreational or entertainment facility (such as gyms, arenas, community centres, libraries, theatres, amusement parks, nightclubs, banquet halls, etc.);
  • Festival and event businesses; and
  • Schools (K-12).

In Calgary and Brooks, the plan is to proceed in stages, as follows:

  • May 14: Retail businesses, day-cares, museums and art galleries;
  • May 25: Hair salons, barber shops, restaurants, bars and pubs;
  • June 1: Same as the rest of Alberta: all businesses except those in the categories noted above.

Reopening Requirements

Businesses that are eligible to reopen must comply with the guidelines set out in the CMOH orders. These requirements include:

  • Implementing practices to minimize the risk of transmission of infection among persons working at or attending the place of business;
  • Providing procedures for rapid response if a person develops symptoms of illness while working at or attending the place of business;
  • Ensuring that persons working at or attending the place of business maintain high levels of sanitation and personal hygiene; and
  • Complying, to the extent possible, with any applicable Alberta Health guidance available at: Alberta Biz Connect.

Public written re-opening plans no longer required

Initially, the CMOH orders required businesses to complete and post a written plan setting out how the business would meet the above noted requirements. This plan had to be completed within 7 days of the public having access to the business. However, subsequent CMOH orders repealed this requirement (CMOH Order 21-2020 and CMOH Order 22-2020). Accordingly, a written re-opening plan is now voluntary for all businesses that are re-opening under stage 1 of the relaunch strategy or which have remained open since before stage 1 commenced.

Going Forward

Guidance regarding reopening requirements continues to develop. However, Alberta Biz Connect provides guidance and operational planning documents for specific sectors, such as industrial work camps, retail and restaurants. We will monitor the situation and provide updates as they are available. Businesses with specific questions regarding reopening requirements, or in need of assistance in developing a reopening plan, can seek guidance from experienced legal counsel at Stikeman Elliott LLP.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is intended to convey general information about legal issues and developments as of the indicated date. It does not constitute legal advice and must not be treated or relied on as such. Please read our full disclaimer at www.stikeman.com/legal-notice.

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