Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Banff

Updated  3:33 p.m. November 29, 2020

In an effort to contain the COVID-19 spread and protect the health, safety and well-being of residents and visitors to the Town of Banff, it is mandatory to wear masks inside enclosed publicly accessible spaces, and outside on sidewalks on Banff Avenue and Bear Street  in the downtown core, and the adjoining Caribou Street and Wolf Street.

More Info: https://banff.ca/covidmasks 

Subscribe to the Latest News on COVID-19 in Banff

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

Learn about the number of positive cases in Alberta.

Learn about locations and demographics of Alberta cases.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) reports 192 active case of COVID-19 in Banff, with the total of 75 cases recorded in Banff to date as being recovered. 

New public health emergency measures announced on November 24 are available at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx

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:

The Town of Banff has declared a State of Local Emergency as of 5 p.m. November 25, 2020. Learn more https://banff.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1317

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)
    • Indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household
    • People who live alone can have up to the same 2 non-household contacts for the duration of the restriction
    • This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers and co-parenting arrangements
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have an indoor component
    • Backyard gatherings that require movement in/out of homes are not permitted
    • Attendees should remain distanced at all times and follow public health measures
  • 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

Banff Town Council will examine these restrictions to determine if additional measures are required.

As of November 12, Banff is listed as having "enhanced status" by the Province of Alberta with regards to provincial regulations. Learn more at https://banff.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1311

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.

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:

  1. Physical distancing requirements: everyone in Alberta must maintain two metres / six feet apart from others not in their household or cohort while outside their homes.
  2. Hygiene practices: hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing and frequent disinfecting of surfaces, will continue to be required of businesses and individuals.
  3. Mass gathering restrictions: Indoor social gatherings are not permitted. Wedding and funeral receptions are limited to 10 people maximum.
  4. Symptomatic self-isolation: Albertans must continue to stay home when exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat.

As of Friday, June 12 Alberta is in Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy. At this time, non-essential travel, especially travel outside the province, is not recommended.

The health and safety of everyone in the Town of Banff is top priority. The Town of Banff is working hard to support local businesses with reopening and to resume 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:

Restrictions of Non-Essential Businesses:

Effective November 27, new restrictions apply to businesses in all communities on the enhanced list, including restrictions on in-person services, capacity limits and masking requirements.

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 that are closed for in-person service include:

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

Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be open with restrictions if they follow all public health guidance in place including:

  • 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 two 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. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.

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

Additional inspections will occur to verify that public health measures are being followed. Establishments that are non compliant may face orders and fines.

Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code. 

  • Retail, including liquor and cannabis
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Clothing stores
  • Computer and technology stores
  • Hardware
  • Automotive
  • Farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets

Some entertainment and event services may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.

  • Movie theatres
  • Museums and galleries
  • Libraries
  • Casinos, offering slots only. Table games must be closed at this time.
  • Indoor entertainment centres including amusement parks, water parks, bingo halls and racing centres.
  • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.
    1. Facilities can be open for individual studio time, training or exercise only.
    2. There can be no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.
    3. Instructors can use facility to broadcast virtual fitness classes from, but there can be no group class.

All public health guidance and physical distancing requirements must be followed.

Albertans and businesses are encouraged to limit in-person visits and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services instead.

Businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.

  • 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)
  • Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges

These businesses must follow all current public health guidance for their sector and should consider virtual options where possible.

Home-based businesses should follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

Gatherings and Events

Please visit Alberta.ca for a full overview of gathering restrictions: www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-gatherings.aspx

  • No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting (private homes, public spaces or workplaces)
    1. Indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household
    2. People who live alone can have up to the same 2 non-household contacts for the duration of the restriction
    3. Work and support group meetings are not social gatherings, but attendance should be limited and public health measures followed
    4. This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers and co-parenting arrangements
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have an indoor component
    1. Backyard gatherings that require movement in/out of homes are not permitted
    2. Attendees should remain distanced at all times and follow public health measures
  • Festivals and events are prohibited (indoors and outdoors)

Travellers

  • Canada’s borders are closed to non-essential crossings. This excludes transport of food and goods. The federal government has banned entry to Canada for all travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with the exception of immediate family. Travellers permitted under these circumstances must be asymptomatic. Immediate family is defined as a spouse or common-law partner; dependent child; dependent child of a dependent child; parent or step-parent; and guardian or tutor.
  • 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 Canada.ca
  • The Town of Banff is welcoming travellers from BC.
  • 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.
  • The Government of Alberta advises against non-essential travel between provinces.
  • 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 https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html 

Schools

Effective November 30, new restrictions apply to schools provincewide:

Grades 7-12 students

  • Move to at-home learning November 30 to January 8, except during winter break*
  • Resume in-person classes January 11
  • Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams.

Grades K-6 students (including Early Childhood Services)

  • Continue in-person learning until their scheduled winter break (generally December 18*)
  • Move to at-home learning after the winter break until January 8
  • Resume in-person classes January 11

*Schools have different winter break schedules, check with your school for details.

Learn more at K-12 learning during COVID-19.

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 Alberta.ca.

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 alberta.ca/covid-19-travel-advice.

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 – Effective November 24, indoor social gatherings are not permitted in any setting. Wedding and funeral receptions are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Attendance is capped at one-third at places of worship, and masks are mandatory. Restaurants, pubs, etc. may continue to operate with a maximum of six people seated per table, limited to people residing in the same household. Banquet halls, conference centres, community centres, and concert venues are temporarily closed.

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


Complaints


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 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. Learn more: from the News Release.

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.

For a summary of the pandemic timeline in Banff over the spring and summer State of Local Emergency:

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 this summer 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 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):

  • Reopened 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

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 www.banff.ca/live
  • Public wishing to make a written submission may do so using by emailing the Municipal Clerk at Municipal.Clerk@banff.ca
  • Public wishing to speak are invited to contact the Municipal Clerk by email at Municipal.Clerk@banff.ca 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.

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.

Spread

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

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.

Review this document created locally to determine what to do if you think you have been in close contact with a positive COVID case, someone close to you has been notified they have been in close contact with someone with COVID, or if you have been in close contact (PDF).

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. 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

AHS and Medical Officers of Health are working with several local employers in response to recent clusters of COVID-19 cases in workplaces in the Banff area. In partnership with local Banff employers, AHS Public Health is contacting and testing potential close contacts of the confirmed cases. 

Only those individuals identified as potentially exposed through a close contact will be contacted and tested by AHS.

If you have symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19, you must stay home and book your test.

  1. Take the self-assessment online at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx 
  2. Book your test in one of two ways:
    1. After you finish the online assessment, you have an option to book a test online. If you have means to get to Cochrane, fill in your request with your Banff postal code to receive a call back for booking quick testing at the Cochrane testing centre, or
    2. For Banff residents without transportation, after using the AHS online assessment tool or calling 8-1-1, schedule COVID testing locally at Alpine Medical Clinic or Bear Street Family Physicians. Alpine has increased testing capacity and Bear Street is able to test again any local residents.
      1. Book online at Alpine Medical Clinic: https://patient.medeohealth.com/boo.../alpine-medical-clinic  
      2. Book by phone to Bear Street Family Physicians: 403-762-4846 Ext.1

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.

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

Review this document created locally to determine what to do if you think you have been in close contact with a positive COVID case, someone close to you has been notified they have been in close contact with someone with COVID, or if you have been in close contact (PDF).

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.

Visiting Residents and Hospital Patients 

Alberta Health Services Implements Enhanced Designated Family/Support Visitation Guidance
Alberta Health Services is expanding support and visitation to include outdoor visits in acute care, unaccompanied outdoor access for patients, and patient off-site passes, where safe and deemed suitable by sites and care teams. Existing guidelines for Designated Essential Visitors in continuing care environments will be maintained. Learn more.

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 outdoors. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have an indoor component. 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: https://www.alberta.ca/protecting-residents-at-congregate-care-facilities.aspx

Visiting patients in acute outpatient and inpatient settings

Effective November 16, given the sustained volume of COVID-19 cases in our province, AHS has again revised access to AHS acute care sites for the purposes of visitation. Specifically, only designated family/support persons are permitted to visit in-patients at this time.  Beyond designated family/support persons, visitor access is allowed only for patients at end-of-life and for those receiving critical care for a life-threatening illness. These visits must be booked in advance with the service area. For more information on the difference between a designated family/support person and a visitor, refer to the section below.

Outpatient and Emergency Department/Urgent Care

Patients may designate one family/support person to accompany them while accessing outpatient, emergency or urgent care services in AHS facilities.

Effective Nov. 16, a second designated family/support person may be requested by a clinic if they are essential to the appointment and virtual options for meeting are not possible.

Acute Inpatient Settings

Patients may designate two family/support persons while admitted in an inpatient unit in an acute care facility. If the room is large enough for physical distancing to be maintained, both Designated Family/Support persons may be permitted at the same time. If not, they must attend one at a time.

Effective November 16, only designated family/support persons are permitted to visit in-patients at this time.  Beyond designated family/support persons, visitor access is allowed only for patients at end-of-life and for those receiving critical care for a life-threatening illness. These visits must be booked in advance with the service area.

Also effective November 16, a patient may identify a replacement Designated Family/Support Person if the original support person is unable to perform their role. This may be due to self-isolation requirements, caregiver fatigue or illness, for example. The intent is not for this designate to change regularly, or multiple times, but to enable a replacement when required. Please inform your healthcare team about your replacement support person.

For more information regarding visiting patients in these situations and more (e.g., maternity/postpartum, pediatrics, etc.), visit: www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17001.aspx

Information Updates: