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Posted on: November 12, 2020

New restrictions needed as Banff/ID9 sees jump in COVID-19 cases

COVID Map Nov 25

Updated 3:59 p.m. November 25

The Government of Alberta has confirmed 153 active cases in Banff/Improvement District No. 9, which includes the communities of the Town of Banff, the village of Lake Louise and the rest of Banff National Park. The region is classified as having an “Enhanced Status” by the Government of Alberta. All regions with “Enhanced Status” face specific restrictions announced by the Province of Alberta.

Restrictions affecting Banff come into effect November 24 and will be in place for at least three weeks. They include the following:

Gatherings:

  • no indoor social gatherings are allowed (applies to private homes, public spaces or workplaces)
  • outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people 
  • festivals and events are cancelled
  • funeral/wedding ceremonies are limited to 10 people; receptions are not allowed

The following activities will be temporarily closed, effective November 27:

  • Children’s play places or indoor playgrounds
  • All levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur). Exemptions may be considered by Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres

For restaurants and bars, effective November 27:

  • Maximum of 6 people from the same immediate household at a table and no movement between tables.
  • People who live alone can meet with up to 2 non-household contacts as long as they’re the same 2 contacts throughout the duration of these restrictions
  • Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
  • Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in-person dining at 11 pm. 

Banff residents are encouraged to use take out, delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up options.

For retail establishments, effective November 27, the following operations may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code:

  • liquor and cannabis, 
  • grocery stores, 
  • pharmacies, 
  • hardware stores, 
  • clothing stores and 
  • similar shops

 For entertainment and event services, effective November 27, the following may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code:

  • Movie theatres
  • Museums and galleries
  • Libraries
  • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.

o Note there can be no in-person group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.

Also effective November 27, businesses open by appointment only (not permitted to offer walk-in services) include:

  • Hotels
  • Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services,
  • Wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology
  • Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers
  • Private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted)

For schools:

Grades 7-12 students

  • Move to at-home learning November 30 to January 8, except during winter break*
  • Resume in-person classes January 11

Grades K-6 students (including Early Childhood Services)

  • Continue in-person learning to December 18
  • Move to at-home learning December 18 to January 8, except during winter break*
  • Resume in-person classes January 11

Public Health orders:

Effective November 24, 2020, people in Banff, Lake Louise and the rest of ID9 are required to follow new Provincial restrictions:

  • no indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting – other than persons in your household. If you live alone, you are permitted to two close contacts
  • outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people
  • all restaurants, bars, lounges will be required to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. (from November 13 to mid-December) 
  • breaking visitation rules will be subject to fines
  • any wedding or funeral ceremonies are limited to a maximum of 10 people in attendance
  • all faith-based organizations must wear masks and operate at 1/3 capacity at any service
  • employers in office settings being encouraged to reduce the number of workers on-site at any one time, to limit the overall number of people in workplaces to reduce risk of transmission
  • restrictions on businesses must be strictly followed.
  • requirements for self-isolation 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.

 Anyone who is in isolation who needs support with groceries, other essentials or help referral services are encouraged to contact the Town’s help team at help@banff.ca or call 403-762-1251. 

New responsibilities about notifying COVID contacts

The Town is encouraging all individuals and employers to be aware of the need to track close contacts on a daily basis, and their responsibilities to notify people who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

 Any individual who tests positive is required to notify all people with whom they have been in close contact. They are instructed to inform:

  • anyone who was in close contact in the two days leading up to when they became sick (or two days before they had a COVID-19 swab taken if they didn’t have any symptoms) and
  • anyone in close contact any days since they started experiencing symptoms or after they had a swab taken (if they didn’t have any symptoms).

 People should understand that a close contact is:

  • anyone who was within two metres of a positive case of COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, even if a mask was worn during that encounter
  • a close contact is ALSO someone who has had direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who has COVID-19 (e.g., was coughed or sneezed on), or 
  • a person who provided direct care for a person who has COVID-19.

For sports that involve close, sustained or intermittent and repeated contact – which continues to be allowed in Banff at this time – all members of the teams playing each other are considered close contacts when there is a case on a team.

 For more information about close contact, please refer to updated AHS information at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17199.aspx 

What you need to do:

 If you are notified that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, go home or stay home in quarantine, take the self-assessment to determine if you need to arrange to be tested, and notify your employer. Assessment and testing information is available at https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx

 If you are notified that you have tested positive for COVID-19, AHS supplies a script for phoning or an email template to send notifications to people who have been in close contact in the 2 days leading up to when you became sick or 2 days before you had a swab – if you did not have symptoms, and up to current time. Make sure to understand who is considered a “close contact” and the relevant time period; don’t notify everyone you know, as this will cause unnecessary concern and can overload health services. The scripting, templates and definitions are provided at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17199.aspx.

 If you are an employer who has been notified that an employee has tested positive, you are asked to notify workplace close contacts of the employee to stay home or go home immediately, implement rapid-response cleaning and containment protocols, and communicate to all staff about the situation. The Town of Banff offers suggested scripting and templates for use in the notification process at banff.ca/COVIDbusiness

The Banff Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) is asking local businesses to please report any positive cases of COVID directly to the ECC to assist them in verifying the case counts being reported through the provincial reporting system. Please note, no individual names are being requested, just totals of positive cases that have been reported to you by your employees. Please email this information as you become aware of it to eccmanager(at)banff.ca

Testing

To arrange local COVID testing, visit https://banff.ca/covid#testing

 To help our community stop the spread of the virus:

  • stay home if you are sick - it's the law - for 10 days if you have COVID symptoms, and you should arrange to be tested
  • maintain a 2-metre distance from anyone not in your personal cohort or family
  • frequently clean shared surfaces and wash or sanitize hands regularly
  • wear masks in publicly accessible buildings, on Banff Avenue and Bear Street, and inside your place of work (except in closed offices or work stations with plexi-glass dividers) 
  • regularly self-assess for changes in your personal health condition. Individuals must not go into work and are legally required to self-isolate if they have core COVID symptoms listed at https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-testing-in-alberta.aspx and arrange to testing. 

 The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides support for people who miss work due to illness or need to self-isolate.

More info:

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