Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Banff
October 23, 2023
Banff region COVID statistics
View Alberta COVID Tracker and Wastewater data (Click wastewater from top menu and select Banff to see the trend of cases of the COVID virus being detected in Banff)
Based on the most up-to-date available Statistics from Alberta Health:
Vaccinations in the Banff/ID9 region:
- no data
- ↑ 361 hospitalizations in Alberta due to COVID
- ↑ 13 Albertans in ICU due to COVID
- arrow indicates direction since last Town update
Alberta Health Services (AHS) updates COVID cases for all regions at Alberta COVID Statistics.
On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Town of Banff Guidance
The Town of Banff urges residents, businesses and visitors to take extra measures to protect the safety of individuals, due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant present in Banff and across Alberta.
Based on advice from regional health experts, the Town of Banff urges everyone in the community to follow these directions:
- get your vaccines as soon as you are eligible, including any boosters available to you. Vaccines are proven to reduce the risk of death or serious illness.
Remember - even residents without an Alberta Health Care card can get a vaccine or booster in Banff!
- stay home if you feel sick and stay away from others until you feel better; use at-home rapid test if you have one (assume you have COVID if you feel unwell)
- If you need food delivery, see info about Nester's delivery and other food support
- be kind to others as we navigate the changing COVID situation; please be courteous and respectful to health care workers and hospitality workers implementing COVID measures and people who choose to use personal protection for the safety of the community
- For visitors, call ahead. Contact the services you will want in the town, before you arrive, because businesses and services may not be operating at full hours due to staffing shortages.
- check the latest travel information for Banff: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/travel-information
- call ahead to places to eat or places to stay, and other services: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/
- check road reports for Alberta https://511.alberta.ca/#:MyRoutes
Menu for important COVID information:
- Critical new information
- How to prevent the spread
- Public health order enforcement
- Actions being taken by the Town of Banff
- About coronavirus and COVID-19
- What you should do if you think you have COVID-19
- Assessment and testing for COVID-19
- Support Services for Residents
- Support Services for Businesses
- Updates from the Emergency Coordination Centre
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) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Emergency Alerts: All individuals and businesses in Banff are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts from the Town of Banff, in the event broad-based communications is required.
On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Alberta entered Step 3 on June 14, 2022, resulting in the following:
- All mandatory public health restrictions have been lifted.
- If a person chooses to wear one, masks should fit well and be of high quality. People at risk of severe outcomes should wear medical masks when in crowded settings with people outside of their household.
- Masking in Alberta Health Services and contracted health facilities has shifted to organizational policy.
- Masking is no longer required on Roam Public Transit
- Proof of vaccination is no longer required for accessing any public programs or activities
- Everyone 5+ can now get vaccinated. Everyone 18+ can get a fourth dose 5 months after the third dose.
- Residents of bath without an Alberta Health Care Card can receive vaccinations and boosters from AHS,
- Reserve as soon as you are eligible. AHS Info.
- COVID-19 vaccines help prevent you from getting infected and protect you from getting severely sick if you do get it. All vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.
- Vaccines for children aged 5 - 11 must be administered by AHS and booked online or by calling 811.
- Book your vaccine at www.alberta.ca/vaccine or by calling Health Link at 811, or call your local medical clinic or pharmacy.
- For information about where to get immunized in Banff, visit: Vaccine Information
- Rapid Testing at home is now available with kits from the Government of Alberta, available at some pharmacies and health centres.
Relief measures for Albertans:
Financial support for Canadians from The Government of Canada:
Important updates from credible sources:
- Learn about Alberta Health Services latest health information and advice for Alberta.
- Learn more about cases of COVID-19 in Canada and around the world.
- Learn about travel, preparations and the national plan from Health Canada.
- Learn about the Government of Canada’s response.
- Review emergency updates from the World Health Organization.
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 from AHS Emergency Coordination Centre.
- Sign up for emergency alerts from the Town of Banff and use resources to be prepared.
More resources for local organizations are provided below.
To help protect you and your family against all respiratory illnesses, including flu and COVID-19:
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
- When coughing or sneezing:
- cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs
- dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible and wash your hands immediately
- Avoid situations where you are in close contact with people who may be ill or where transmission is most likely
Travel information: alberta.ca/covid-19-travel-advice.
For the latest travel health advice and requirements, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
For complaints to AHS, submit to Alberta Health Services Complaint Form.
(In reverse chronological order)
Late December 2021 -- the Town continues support services from its Help Desk. This team remains available for support or referral at firstname.lastname@example.org and is available in business hours at 403-762-1251. The Town is evaluating whether to increase services and is contacting local groceries and pharmacies to determine the status of their delivery services.
With the increased rate of positive cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, and changes to Government of Alberta testing protocols, the Town of Banff is:
- advocating to Alberta Health to support Banff with isolation facilities, due to the increased risk to people living in shared accommodation;
- advocating to the local private suppliers to increase testing capacity in Banff;
- advocating to Alberta Health for additional provincial testing in Banff; and
- advocating to Alberta Health for additional immunization clinics in Banff, through facilities or mobile (bus) clinics, and we maintain our offer to support space requirements.
The Town continues to provide masks to all residents, available at Town Hall, however, they are the older type of mask. The Town has asked Alberta Health for a supply of N95-type masks to replace the current supply provided by the Government of Alberta, due to new information about different levels of protection for certain masks.
December 29, 2021 -- the Town cancelled its New Year’s Eve events, even though they had been designed for COVID safety. Due to uncertainty around many aspects of transmission of the new variant, activities indoors and outside were cancelled out of the abundance of caution.
December 24-31, 2021 – the Town of Banff provides “We’re Vaccinated” window decals to businesses and organizations with mandatory staff vaccination policies
November 15, 2021 – Banff’s Emergency Coordination Centre officially stands down; last meeting of agencies was July 8, 2021. Banff’s Emergency Management Team continues operations, including weekly meetings with provincial health authority and local health providers
October 6, 2021 – Banff’s Mayor urges the Prime Minister and Finance Minister to extend the Rent and Wage Subsidy programs to support the struggling community. The programs are extended the following week, with a focus on tourism supports
September 15, 2021 – Banff’s Mayor urges the Alberta Minister of Health and the Premier to implement a vaccine passport-type system and implement measures to mandate proof of vaccination to access non-essential services. Later in the week, the provincial Restriction Exemption Program is announced
September 19 and November 8-9, 2021 – the Town commissioned a Vaccination Bus to provide additional opportunities for drop-in immunization
September 2021 – the provincial vaccine passport system, called the Restriction Exemption Program, is implemented in the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre
August 12, 2021 – the Town of Banff implements a mandatory vaccine policy for all employees
July 1, 2021 – the Town cancels many Canada Day events such as the parade and participant activities, but provides live music performances in multiple locations around the downtown to distribute audiences and provide safe experiences
July 1, 2021 – Town Council ends mandatory mask bylaw for outdoors in downtown core and indoor spaces, as Provincial Public Health Order implements mandatory mask requirement inside public spaces
May 18, 2021 –Banff’s Mayor urges the Government of Canada to extend financial support programs to recently started businesses that are unable to qualify for existing supports because they cannot show a drop in revenue compared to a previous year
May 12, 2021 – the Town of Banff mourns the death of resident Ron Giesbrecht, the first Banff resident to die from COVID.
May 2021 – The Town of Banff asks visitors to avoid travelling to Banff until after the May Long Weekend, due to the very high case counts in the community
April 30, 2021 – the Town of Banff closed Banff Avenue to vehicles to create a Downtown Pedestrian Zone, for the second summer in a row, to provide more space for pedestrians and more opportunities for safe, outdoor dining and retail
April 2021 – with an increase in COVID cases, the Town lobbies the Government of Alberta for more vaccine capacity in town, and provides the Fenlands Recreation Centre for mass vaccination clinics
April 12, 2021 – Banff’s Mayor asks local MLA to reconsider criticism of provincial safety measures implemented to control spike in cases
April 12, 2021 – the Town of Banff declines a proposal for the municipality to fund a rapid test program, and instead provides help to employers in the community in accessing free rapid test kits from the Province of Alberta
January 2021 – the Town of Banff holds property taxes 6.7% below pre-pandemic level in 2019. The Town returns the tax deferral and utility payment deferral programs.
January 15, 2021 – Town’s Emergency Coordination Centre ends State of Local Emergency and its extraordinary powers
November 30, 2020 – the Town of Banff opens and operates an isolation facility for residents who need to isolate but live in shared accommodation. The Town also lobbies the Provincial Government to expand testing sites in town, and successfully establishes AHS-supported private testing station added
November 22, 2020 – the Town suspends team sports, cohorted programs, and high-intensity fitness programs in Town facilities, and closed the Town’s drop-in family programs
November – December, 2020 – the Town implements new restrictions on businesses, including reducing restaurant capacity by 50 per cent, requiring liquor and cannabis stores to close by 10 p.m. and expanding the area where outdoor masks must be worn to include all of Banff Avenue and more of the downtown core.
November 25, 2020 --the Town of Banff declared a State of Local Emergency to support enforcement of restrictions announced in the Government of Alberta's declaration of a Public Health Emergency. The State of Local Emergency also allows the Town to act quickly to address the changing situation, and implement additional measures to stop the spread of COVID. See News Release.
October 25, 2020 – Banff’s Mayor urges the Alberta Health Minister to allow Albertans to use the federal contact tracing app
August 2020 -- the Town of Banff starts participation in a project led by the University of Alberta and other research organizations to collect wastewater and examine for the presence of the COVID virus. This data (available at https://covid-tracker.chi-csm.ca/) is useful because it shows the trend in Banff and also includes visitors staying in accommodation (absent from case count data).
July 31, 2020 – Town of Banff implements mandatory mask bylaw for all indoor public spaces and outdoors in the busy downtown core
April 2020 – Banff Town Council cuts its overall tax levy by 17% to reduce impacts on individuals and businesses experiencing hardship due to COVID and impacts of the pandemic
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.
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.
For a summary of the first 100 days of the pandemic in Banff:
Banff and Lake Louise Economic Task Force
The Town of Banff, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT), Parks Canada, and Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association (BLLHA) created the Banff & Lake Louise Economic Task Force in May to deliver a phased plan to safely and effectively re-open the economy in Banff National Park, with five specific objectives. The task force reports positive steps in the work this summer to rebuild the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, but believes more work is needed through the winter and beyond as the crisis presents significant risks to the communities.
The Town of Banff conducted a public survey in August 2020 to compile opinions, impacts and expectations related to the COVID pandemic. Read the full report:
Banff Avenue Pedestrian Zone
The 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Avenue were closed to vehicle traffic in the summer of 2020 and 2021 to provide more space for pedestrians to practice physical distancing, and to help local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public health is the mandate of Alberta Health Services and the Province of Alberta. The Town of Banff is responsible for ensuring essential services continue through an outbreak.
Other activities of the Town of Banff in year 1 (2020) include, in reverse chronological order:
- Restarted the Help Team as part of Emergency Social Services support to the community, especially individuals required to be in isolation or quarantine
- Declared State of Local Emergency in Banff to help enforce provincial public health emergency restrictions and to implement additional measures in Banff
- Enforce new restrictions on social gatherings, occupancy limits and other measures implemented by Government of Alberta through public health emergency
- Worked with AHS to increase COVID testing in Banff
- 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 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
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.
For assessment and testing information, visit banff.ca/covidhelp.
How you can prepare
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. 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.
- Alberta Health Services updates information on coronavirus (COVID-19) at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx
- Government of Alberta updates at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx including information for travellers, students, children, seniors, employers and more.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada information on outbreak updates in Canada, prevention, Canada’s response plan, and facts on the COVID-19 at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
- Government of Canada information for travellers on COVID-19 at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210