Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Banff

Updated  8:20 a.m. May 21, 2020

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An outbreak of respiratory illness, now known to be caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, was first identified on December 31, 2019.  The novel coronavirus disease has been given the name COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the global outbreak a pandemic

A State of Public Health Emergency exists in Alberta. 
A State of Local Emergency exists in the Town of Banff.

Learn about the number of positive cases in Alberta.

Learn about locations and demographics of Alberta cases.

Alberta Health Services has identified at least four positive cases of COVID-19 in Banff, wit three recovered and one active. Alberta Health Services is contacting all people who were in contact with individuals who tested positive and directing the individuals to take necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

Everyone in Banff must follow health protocols to stop the spread and behave as if there are more local cases, and as if you are infected and need to stop the spread to others.

All individuals and businesses in Banff are to sign up for emergency alerts from the Town of Banff, in the event broad-based communications is required.

Critical new information:

Banff is not able to welcome visitors to the townsite; most businesses are closed, essential services are dedicated to residents and people needing to refuel on their way through Banff on the TransCanada Highway.

Testing in Alberta, including in Banffis now available to any person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 including:

  • Fever
  • Cough (new cough or worsening chronic cough)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (new or worsening)
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell in general, or new fatigue or severe exhaustion
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite)
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye

To determine if you need to be tested and next steps, please see Assessment and testing for COVID-19.

Restrictions imposed under the Provincial and Local States of Emergency include:

Public Health orders:

  • Mandatory 14-day self-isolation for returning international travellers or close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19.
  • Mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people with symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
  • Any persons gathering in an indoor location must maintain a minimum of 2 metres distance from one another.
  • Any persons gathering in an outdoor location must maintain a minimum of 2 metres from one another.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people outside are not allowed
  • Gatherings of more than 15 people are not allowed in one indoor location 
  • Essential services must follow limits of occupancy, access and stringent health protocols.
  • Restrictions on businesses must be strictly followed.
  • Requirements for self-islolation must be strictly followed.
  • These restrictions are now legally enforceable and subject to fines of $1,000 per offence, plus $200 surcharge.
  • Courts could administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.

Health Orders Remain in Place During Alberta’s Staged Relaunch
The Government of Alberta has released a staged strategy to relaunch businesses and services. The plan to move forward requires careful and ongoing monitoring and respecting all guidelines outlined by the chief medical officer of health. Public health orders still in place throughout this staged relaunch are:

  • Physical distancing requirements: everyone in Alberta must maintain two metres / six feet apart from others while outside their homes.
  • Hygiene practices: hygiene practices, such as proper handwashing and frequent disinfecting of surfaces, will continue to be required of businesses and individuals.
  • Mass gathering restrictions: gatherings inside one location is restricted to 15 people or fewer.
    Gatherings outside is restricted to 50 people or fewer. Mass public events are cancelled for the summer.
  • Symptomatic self-isolation: Albertans must continue to stay home when exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat.

At this time, non-essential travel, especially travel outside the province, is not recommended.
Remote working is advised where possible.

The health and safety of everyone in the Town of Banff is top priority. The Town of Banff has a team working hard on a plan to support local businesses with reopening and to begin resuming some local services in a way that aligns with the Alberta’s staged strategy, aligns with Parks Canada regulations, and ensures public health orders are followed.

Please check back regularly for more information and sign up for emergency alerts from the Town of Banff.

The Province of Alberta has introduced new relief measures for Albertans:

New information from the Government of Alberta:

The Government of Canada has introduced financial support to Canadians:

Restrictinos of Non-Essential Businesses:

As a result of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, attendance at certain businesses and organizations across the province are prohibited or limited. 

Review updates on what businesses are allowed to re-open and the restrictions still in place.
Requirements to allow businesses to reopen are available on Alberta Biz Connect

Businesses and services permitted to re-open in Stage 1 (as of May 14):

  • Art galleries, museums and golf courses
  • Child care and out-of-school care
  • Hair salons and barbers
  • Non-essential health services
  • Restaurants, cafes and bars (these can reopen for table service at 50% capacity with increased infection prevention and controls as part of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. )
  • Retail services 

Gatherings and Events

Please visit for a full list of essential services exempt from closure restriction.

  • Mass gatherings outside are limited to no more than 50 attendees. Gatherings inside one location are limited to 15 or fewer people.
    • This includes: parties, conferences, worship gatherings, open spaces such as trails, fields and parks, and family events such as weddings and funerals.
    • This does not include: grocery stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services. But people must maintain a distance of 2 metres / 6 feet from others at all times.
  • Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreation facilities and private entertainment facilities.
    • This includes gyms, swimming pools, theatres, arenas, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, entertainment centres.

Hotels are not included because guests are able to avoid large gatherings in their rooms. Hotels are an essential service. In Banff, hotels have been important for emergency responders offering mobile testing services, construction contractors, and people travelling on the TransCanada Highway between provinces.

The Town of Banff has cancelled all Town-organized programs, courses, and events that gather members of the public, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Town has closed Town Hall, the Fenlands Recreation Centre and the 101 Bear Street facility to the public. 

Visiting Seniors

Individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, among seniors and vulnerable groups:

  • Visitors may not enter long-term care facilities or licensed supportive living facilities (including seniors lodges and group homes) except when a resident is dying or in the rare case that the resident’s care needs cannot be met without the visitor’s assistance.
  • The definition of end of life is in the two weeks prior to death. One designated visitor can be named per resident. They can be a family member, friend or companion, but must be over the age of 18. A replacement can be named, if required.
  • Visitors who are permitted under these exceptions must be verified and undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.
  • No individual who is ill will be permitted to visit a patient in any AHS facility. This includes patients ill with known or suspected cases of COVID-19, or any other illness.

Outdoor visits

It is important for mental health to spend time indoors. Outdoor visits are allowed with a designated essential visitor and one other person (up to group of three people, including the resident), where space permits. However, physical distancing must be practiced and all visitors must wear a mask or some other form of face covering.

Arrangements for the outdoor visit (including scheduling, frequency, feasibility, etc.) should be made by the designated essential visitor, or the resident, directly with the operator.

Visitors are responsible for bringing their own masks for outdoor visits.

For more information on visiting long-term or continuing care facilities, visit:


  • The federal government has banned entry to Canada for all travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Only asymptomatic Canadians or permanent residents can return.
  • Canada’s borders are closed to non-essential crossings. This excludes transport of food and goods.
  • The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all persons entering Canada, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. For more information, visit the Travel Advice page on
  • The Government of Alberta advises against non-essential travel between provinces.
  • Returning travellers are restricted from taking public transportation (buses, trains, etc.) to return to their place of self-isolation.
  • Incoming international flights will go to four airports: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Canada will continue to receive important goods.
  • Alberta Health Services directs people who have symptoms – cough, fever or difficulty breathing – to immediately isolate in temporary accommodation and complete the online COVID-19 self-assessment then call Alberta Health at 8-1-1 if advised. Do not go to the hospital or a doctor’s office.
  • All recent travellers should visit daily updates of information for airline passengers. Flights that have confirmed cases and the affected seats will be posted online as information is confirmed

If you recently returned from travel outside Canada or have symptoms of cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:

All Albertans who are currently outside the country are to self-isolate for 14 days after they return from being outside Canada, and monitor their condition. If they experience symptoms of fever or cough, they should call Health Link at 8-1-1 for assessment.

The Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada advise against travelling outside Canada. Health care in other destinations may not be reliable and re-entry provisions may change.

All air passengers travelling within Canada are required to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel.

For the latest travel health advice and requirements, visit 


  • All Classes in K to 12 schools are cancelled until further notice
  • All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled
  • School authorities will offer at-home learning opportunities for all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students
  • All licensed childcare facilities, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs are closed indefinitely, with the exception of centres for the children of essential workers
  • Approved day homes (up to 6 children, excluding operator’s children) are exempt because they care for small groups. These programs must follow enhanced sanitation practices

More important updates from credible sources:

More resources for local organizations are provided below.

How to prevent spread 

 To help protect you and your family against all respiratory illnesses, including flu and COVID-19:

Help Prevent the Spread with the ABTraceTogether App

A mobile contact tracing app called ABTraceTogether is now available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. ABTraceTogether lets you know if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 – or if you’ve exposed others – while protecting your privacy. Watch this video from the Government of Alberta to see how ABTraceTogether works. The app is now available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play. Learn more at

Use of this app is voluntary. Personal data is only stored on your phone for 21 days in an encrypted format. Your information will not be shared with AHS contact tracers without your permission.

Wearing Non-medical Masks

Wearing a non-medical mask, such as a homemade cloth mask, has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, it may be helpful in protecting others around you.

  • Face coverings are another way to prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or surfaces.
  • They should only be used in addition to other prevention steps.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands. When wearing a mask:

  • avoid touching your face mask while using it
  • continue practicing good hand hygiene
  • change a cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled
    • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly
  • masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled
    • dispose of masks properly in a lined garbage bin
    • don’t leave discarded masks in shopping carts, on the ground, etc.

Public health order enforcement

To protect the health and safety of Albertans, law enforcement agencies have been granted full authority in accordance with the Quarantine Act to enforce public health orders and issue fines for violations.

The Government of Alberta has strengthened its safety measures for international travellers arriving at the Calgary and Edmonton international airports. Effective May 20, travellers will be required to pass through a provincial checkpoint where they will need to complete a 14-day isolation plan and undergo a touch-free temperature check. For more details on this mandatory order, visit

Travel Isolation – Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.

Symptomatic Isolation – Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Symptoms requiring mandatory isolation include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.

If you have any other symptoms (including stuffy nose; painful swallowing; headache; chills; muscle or joint aches; feeling unwell in general, or new fatigue or severe exhaustion; gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite); loss of sense of smell or taste; and conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye), stay home and minimize your contact with others until your symptoms resolve.

Close Contact Isolation – Any individual who has been identified by as a close contact of a person(s) with COVID-19 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.

Mass Gatherings – Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 15 attendees inside one location, and 50 people or fewer outside.

Facilities under this order include all nursing homes, designated supportive living and long-term care facilities, seniors’ lodges and any facility in which residential addiction treatment services are offered under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.

Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.

Care Facility Visitation – Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.

If you are self-isolating: 

  • stay home - do not attend work, social events or any other public gatherings.
  • avoid close contact with other people, including household members but especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • don’t take public transportation like buses, taxis or ridesharing, where possible.
  • watch for symptoms.

If you are in mandatory self-isolation: 

  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or community settings.
  • Do not go outside for a walk through your neighbourhood or park. This includes children in mandatory self-isolation.
  • You can get fresh air in your backyard, if you have one, but must remain on private property not accessible by others.
  • If you live in an apartment building or high-rise, you must stay inside and cannot use the elevators or stairwells to go outside. If your balcony is private and at least 2 metres away from your closest neighbour’s, you may go outside on the balcony.

 Public health orders are legally enforceable and subject to fines of $1,000 per offence, plus $200 surcharge. Courts can administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.

Filing a complaint


If there are situations or gatherings happening where physical distancing is not being enforced – such as in a business, in a house or at a park – people can contact the Town of Banff using this online complaint form:

For an immediate response, the Town of Banff accepts calls at 403.762.1218 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
After hours, please call the RCMP at 403.762.2226.

For complaints to AHS, submit to Alberta Health Services Complaint Form.

Actions taken by the Town of Banff

On March 13, 2020, the Town of Banff activated its Municipal Emergency Plan. The Town also activated its Emergency Coordination Centre. The move dedicates more resources locally to address this evolving situation.

On March 17, 2020, the Town of Banff declared a State of Local Emergency. This provides authority to implement additional measures for the safety of the community.

Public health is the mandate of Alberta Health Services and the Province of Alberta. The Town of Banff is in daily contact with Alberta Health officials to provide support to the public health effort in Banff. The Town of Banff is responsible for ensuring essential services continue through an outbreak.

The Town of Banff has (in reverse chronological order):

  • Enforced provincial occupancy and gatherings limited to 50 people and closure of non-essential services
  • Established an Action Request form for residents to report concern over gatherings and non-essential businesses
  • Closed playgrounds
  • Created posters for businesses to post on doors about  closures, pick-up services, and entrance restrictions
  • Mobilized Emergency Social Services’ virtual reception centre - email support service with web page dedicated to local residents and phone help line
  • For property owners, the Town enabled residents and businesses to suspend property tax payments if they are on the monthly payment program and receive a refund on the first 3 months of payments made in 2020
  • Created print guide on safe health practices and resource info for seniors in Banff
  • Mobilized Resource Coordinator to determine status of businesses in Banff and if they have resources (like food and cleaning supplies) they can share, or if they have needs to maintain critical operations. Submit here.
  • Closed The Fenlands Banff Rec Centre, Town Hall and 101 Bear Street
  • Imposed restrictions on capacity of gatherings: 50% capacity, up to maximum of 50 (later included in Provincial restrictions as Alberta declares State of Emergency, and later revised to gatherings no more than 50 people)
  • Declared State of Local Emergency
  • Established virtual space for HR officers and managers in Banff to collaborate on resources and information
  • Cancelled events and courses and discouraged gatherings in the community
  • Activated the Emergency Coordination Centre
  • Activated the Municipal Emergency Plan

Impact on Council Meetings

  • All Council and Committee meetings will be conducted virtually via Zoom Meetings.
  • Public are encouraged to follow Council and Committee meetings using the live stream
  • Public wishing to make a written submission may do so using by emailing the Municipal Clerk at
  • Public wishing to speak are invited to contact the Municipal Clerk by email at or phone 403.762.1209 to register and to receive further information
  • Members of Council and other Committees will be participating remotely

Cancellations, program changes and closures

The Town of Banff has cancelled all programs, courses, and events that gather members of the public, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The cancellations apply to all activities within 60 days of the current date, as long as restrictions are in place.

Town events and activities that have been cancelled include the closure of the public gallery for Council and Committee meetings. Special Council meetings welcome public participation online only.


All courses, classes and programs with gatherings. Access support through email: 


  • Banff Public Library and all programming
  • The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre and all programming
  • 101 Bear Street and all programming 
  • Town Hall closed to public
  • All playgrounds in the Town of Banff
  • Skateboard park
  • Basketball court
  • Tennis courts

Provincial and national park closures and service suspensions

Banff National Park Closures and Service Suspensions

Camping, group activities and events have been suspended by Parks Canada at all national parks and sites across the country—including Banff National Park—until at least May 31, 2020.

All reservations set prior to May 31 will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full. Restrooms along transportation corridors and access to businesses and critical services in the Town of Banff and the Village of Lake Louise will continue to be maintained. The current suspension of visitor services and vehicle access by visitors, as well as the temporary closure of visitor facilities, will remain in place until further notice.

Visit for the latest information regarding closures and service suspensions in Banff National Park.

Provincial Parks: Vehicle Access to Alberta Parks and Public Lands Temporarily Closed

Automobile access to all provincial parks as well as provincial recreation areas is temporarily closed. The suspension applies to motor vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas.

The restrictions do not apply to forestry or oil and gas operations and access for First Nations and identified Métis Harvesters.

Albertans who choose to access the Province’s parks and recreation areas should follow the advice of government health experts on physical distancing and public gatherings. Enforcement officers will be doing routine checks in provincial parks and on public land to support education and awareness on the temporary closure. Officers can issue fines for non-compliance, if required.

No Parks staff are currently supporting facility operations so visitor safety cannot be ensured. As improperly disposed garbage and waste has the potential to draw wildlife, fines of up to $250 for littering will be issued to users who dispose of garbage improperly.

Visit Alberta Environment and Parks for more information on the response to COVID-19.

About coronavirus and COVID-19 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

The disease caused by this strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) does not appear to be as severe as other coronaviruses, such as SARS. Many patients have reported only mild symptoms. There is person-to-person spread. Respiratory infections are much more likely to be caused by a common virus, such as influenza.


COVID-19 is believed to be spread mainly by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or with surfaces they have recently touched. COVID-19 does not spread like measles. It does not travel through the air over long distances and times. However, it can spread person-to-person by larger droplets, like from a cough or sneeze or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 


Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. Visit Health Canada for information on the most common symptoms.

What you should do if you think you could have COVID-19 

Self-isolate and call 8-1-1 if you believe you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If you are returning or visiting from outside of Canada, you should closely monitor your health while in mandatory self-isolation for 14 days.

  • If you start experiencing a fever or cough, even if it is mild, please self-isolate yourself immediately and complete the COVID-19 self-assessment for Albertans.
  • Do not go to an emergency department, urgent care centre, or family doctor’s office for initial assessment or testing. If you require more information beyond the self-assessment, please call Health Link at 8-1-1.

More Resources:

How you can prepare

Keep yourself informed from credible sources of information, such as Alberta Health Services, Health Canada and the World Health Organization.

Sign up for emergency alerts from the Town of Banff to stay up-to-date.

Plan ahead and prepare an emergency kit for your home.

Alberta public health officials recommend the following ways to prepare:

  • Create a household plan of action. This can include these elements:
    • Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan.
    • Meet with family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in Banff and how you can support each other.
    • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. This includes practical steps like ensuring you have sufficient medication and determining what supplies are needed, and if they can be delivered.
    • Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, health care services, support, and resources.
    • Create an emergency contact list.
  • Practice good personal health habits and plan for home-based actions:
    • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms, as needed, when someone is sick.
  • Be prepared if your child’s school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed.
  • Plan for potential changes at your workplace.
    • Learn about your employer’s emergency operations plan.
    • Ask about what sick-leave policies and telework options are available if needed.
  • Stockpiling of goods is not recommended at this time. While it’s always best practice to have three days worth of supplies on-hand, people should avoid purchasing food or other materials in bulk due to the impact on suppliers and people who have day-to-day needs.

Assessment and Testing for COVID-19

The COVID-19 test can be completed in the Bow Valley. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should complete the online self-assessment tool or call 811 to find out whether testing is required. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever*
  • Cough (new cough or worsening chronic cough)*
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (new or worsening)*
  • Runny nose*
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat*
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell in general, or new fatigue or severe exhaustion
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite)
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye

*If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat, you are legally required to isolate for at least 10 days from the start of your symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer. If you have any of the other symptoms, stay home and minimize your contact with others until your symptoms resolve.

To determine if you need to be tested and next steps, complete the:

Do not visit a hospital, physician’s office, lab or healthcare facility without having conducted an online self-assessment or consulted Health Link by calling 811 first.

Clinics available for COVID-19 testing by AHS or Health Link referral in the Bow Valley include:

  • Banff’s Alpine Medical Clinic – open seven days a week – 403-762-3155
  • Banff’s Bear St. Family Physicians – open Monday to Friday – 403-762-4846.
  • Lake Louise Medical Clinic – open Monday to Friday – 403-522-2184
  • Canmore’s Ridgeview Medical Centre – open seven days a week – 403-609-8333
  • Canmore Associate Medical Clinic – open Monday to Friday – 403-678-5585
  • Morley’s Stoney Health Services – open Monday to Friday – 403-881-3920

For more information on testing eligibility, visit: Alberta Health Testing Info

In Case of Medical Emergency

If you experience or see someone experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19, including difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, feelings of confusion or loss of consciousness, call 911 immediately and inform the operator that there may be a risk of COVID-19 transmission.

What should you do about an upcoming event/gathering you organized? 

Large gatherings can contribute to the transmission of respiratory pathogens, such as COVID-19. The Government of Alberta has mandated that all public and private events or gatherings with more than 15 people must be cancelled. 

The Town of Banff Emergency Coordination Centre is cancelling all events and gatherings within 60 days from the current date, as long as restrictions are in place.

As a result of the limitation of mass gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, AGLC (Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis) has temporarily suspended the special event licensing application process on its website. 

People who had planned to host private events and had already purchased special event licences may apply for refunds by emailing or visiting for more information.

Information Updates: