Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Banff

Updated 4:30 p.m. February 26, 2021        

Our region, which includes the communities of Banff and Lake Louise, and the rest of the national park has:

  • 450 total cases (includes active and recovered)
  • 4 active positive cases
    • 0 new active case since last update
  • 446 people who have recovered 
  • 0 deaths

Statistics are based on data to the end of the previous day. 

Trend graph for the Banff and Lake Louise region (updated Mon/Wed/Fri):

Feb 26 trend graph

Alberta Health Services (AHS) updates COVID cases for all regions at Alberta COVID Statistics.

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.

New public health emergency measures announced are in place and 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:

A roadmap was developed to help Albertans understand how restrictions will be eased in steps over the coming months. A Path Forward outlines the sectors that will see gradual restriction changes at each step based on hospitalization benchmarks.

Alberta's Step 1 changes came into effect February 8. All other restrictions remain in effect. Details at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx

New Provincial Restrictions

Currently in effect:

  • All indoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited. Close contacts are limited to household members only.
    • People who live alone can have up to 2 close contacts, who are the same people for the duration of the restriction. If the close contacts do not live alone, visits cannot be held at their home.
    • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people and people from different households must stay 2 metres apart at all time. 
    • Performances with audiences are still not permitted.
  • Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces and facilities outside the home, except when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle or a barrier is in place, or in rental accommodations (hotel rooms). 
  • Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can open for in-person service, with restrictions. (In Banff, with limited space, diners should call ahead to reserve a table).
    • 6 people per table maximum – individuals must be from the same household or the 2 close contacts for a person living alone.
    • Tables and dining parties must be 2 metres apart.
    • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.
    • In-person dining ends at 10 pm.

  • Retail services are reduced to a customer capacity of 15% of fire code occupancy . This includes grocery stores, pet supply stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, gift shops, hardware stores, liquor and cannabis stores. People must shop only with the people you live with.
  • Shopping mall overall capacity is limited to 15% including common areas and individual stores, and food courts are open for grab-and-go only.
  • All entertainment businesses and entities are closed, including libraries, galleries, museums, theatres, fitness centres, and pools.
  • Working from home is mandatory when physical presence is not required.
  • Out-of-town travel is discouraged at this time. 
    • Out-of-town visitors cannot stay in other people's homes while these restrictions are in place, regardless of where they are coming from.  
  • More details are included below under Provincial Restrictions, or at: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Banff Town Council added a number of measures through bylaw that came into effect Thursday (Dec. 3) at noon:

  • The mandatory mask bylaw has expanded to cover more of the downtown area and all of Banff Avenue - masks must be worn outside. Bandanas, scarves and neck tubes do not qualify as masks. See map at https://banff.ca/COVIDmasks
    • This adds to the existing requirement for masks to be worn inside all publicly accessible buildings.

The Province of Alberta has authorized Banff Community Peace Officers to monitor and enforce the provincial public health orders. Town bylaw officers are assisting RCMP in patrolling and enforcing provincial orders.

Isolation Space

The Town of Banff has opened isolation space for certain Banff residents to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community. For more information, visit: banff.ca/covidhelp.

Provincial Restrictions

Restrictions affecting Banff came into effect December 8 and 13 and will be in place until at least January 12, 2021. They include the following:

Gatherings:

  • All indoor and outdoor social gatherings are prohibited. 

Masks, workplaces, and childcare:

  1. Masks are mandatory in all indoor public space and workplaces.
  2. Working from home is mandatory when physical presence is not required. 
  3. Current child care measures remain in effect and can continue operating as long as providers follow all public health orders and guidance for child care programs.

  Business and service restrictions

Some businesses have been required to close, reduce capacity, or limit their in-person access. 

 For retail establishments, operations may remain open with reduced customer capacity to 15% of fire code occupancy (not including staff) or a minimum of 5 customers if they can maintain 2-metre distancing.

  • Curbside pick up, delivery and online services are encouraged
  • Shop alone if possible 
  • Shopping malls:
    • capacity limits of 15% include common areas and individual stores
    • food courts open for grab and go only

Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes can open for in-person service, with restrictions.

  • 6 people per table maximum – individuals must be from the same household or the 2 close contacts for a person living alone.
  • Tables and dining parties must be 2 metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.
  • Liquor service ends at 10 pm.
  • In-person dining must close by 11 pm.
  • No entertainment allowed (VLTs, pool tables, live music, etc.).

 All entertainment and recreation facilities are closed including

  • Children’s play centres or indoor playgrounds
  • Bowling alleys, pool halls, legions, galleries, libraries, museums, and movie centres.
  • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres

Facilities used for indoor recreation may open only for the purposes of 1-to-1 fitness training and youth group physical activities. Facilities may include:

  • Gyms and studios
  • Fitness and recreation centres
  • Spas, pools, indoor rinks and arenas
  • Community halls and centres

All personal and wellness services can open by appointment only.

  • Walk-in services are not permitted.
  • Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.
  • Businesses must follow all current public health guidance.
  • Home-based businesses must follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

Outdoor sports and recreation

Group activities

Adult group physical activities, including team sports, fitness classes and training sessions, are prohibited or restricted across Alberta. See guidance for outdoor winter recreation.

  • Outdoor team sports and group activities where 2 metre distancing cannot be maintained at all times are prohibited (shinny, tag and pick-up hockey are prohibited).
  • Outdoor group physical activity must be limited to 10 people or fewer.
  • Outdoor recreation amenities can be open to public access unless specifically closed by public health order.
    • This includes outdoor skating rinks, sledding hills and Nordic ski areas.
    • More than 10 people may use an outdoor recreation amenity at the same time (for example, public access to a local rink) as long as physical distancing is maintained between households.

One-on-one training

  • One-on-one training with a fitness trainer or coach is allowed, with restrictions.
  • See the Indoor fitness section for more information on one-on-one training.

Indoor fitness

Group or team sports not permitted

  • No sports games, competitions, team practice, league play or group exercise of any kind is allowed.

One-on-one training is permitted

  • Only one-on-one or one-on-one household training is permitted for indoor fitness activities (for example, in dance studios, swimming pools, training figure skating on ice, one-on-one lessons).
  • Sessions have to be scheduled or by appointment. No drop-in or groups allowed.
  • Individual workouts without a trainer are not permitted.

Safety requirements:

  • One-on-one sessions cannot interact with others and there must be a minimum of 3 metres distance between pairs of trainers and clients (aka sessions) in the same facility.
  • Trainers must be professional, certified and/or paid trainers who are providing active instruction and correction. Passive supervision of a physical activity is not considered training.
  • Trainers must remain masked during the session. Clients are not required to wear a mask while doing high intensity exercise.
  • Regardless of the type or intensity of exercise, trainers and clients must be separated by 3 metres at all times.
  • More than one trainer and client ‘pair’ are allowed into the facility, studio, rink, court, pool, ice surface, etc. with restrictions:
    • Each trainer and client pair must stay 3 metres away from all other trainers and clients at all times, including in entryways and exits.
    • Each trainer can only interact with their assigned client, and each client can only interact with their assigned trainer.
    • No interaction between clients or between trainers is allowed.
    • No ‘cycling through’ multiple trainers as in circuit training.

Health, social and professional services can remain open by appointment only. This includes:

  • Physicians, dentists, physical therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, hearing aid practitioners, acupuncturists, naturopaths

 Professional services can remain open by appointment only. This includes:

  • Social, protective, or emergency services, shelters for vulnerable person, not-for-profit community kitchens, religious kitchens, and soup kitchens 

Youth group physical activities

  • Children and youth will be allowed to participate in limited group activities.
  • Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed for indoor and outdoor minor sports/activities and school athletics (for example, school sport activities that are outside of a physical education class or related part of the school curriculum).
  • Games are not allowed.
  • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and participants.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all times:
    • 3-metres physical distance for indoor activities
    • 2-metres physical distance for outdoor activities
    • coaches or trainers may enter physical distancing space for brief interactions with participants (for example, to correct form or technique)
  • Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity. Coaches and trainers must remain masked at all times.
  • Access to change rooms must be limited, including accelerated arrival and departure, emergencies (for example, first aid) and washroom use.

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

These restrictions are legally enforceable and subject to fines of $1,000 per offence, plus $200 administrative 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.

 For more information, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx


Relief measures for Albertans:

New information from the Government of Alberta:

Financial support for Canadians from The Government of Canada:

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.

The federal contact tracing app does not function in Alberta.

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.

Choosing a 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.

As of May 20, travellers at the Calgary and Edmonton international airports are 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.

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

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.

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

If you are required to self-isolate: 

  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or community settings.
  • Do not go shopping.
  • 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.

For assessment and testing information, visit banff.ca/covidhelp.

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.

Complaints about people not working from home (when it is possible) can be forwarded to OHS: File an OHS complaint | Alberta.ca

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 

If you have symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19, you must self-isolate and contact 8-1-1 for directives.

For assessment and testing information, visit banff.ca/covidhelp.

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.

Visiting Residents and Hospital Patients 

The Banff Mineral Springs Hospital is not allowing visitors at this point. 

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 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 if a person considered to be at the end-of-life and can have a designated support person. While it is difficult to be precise around when a patient/resident is at end-of-life, this generally refers to the last four to six weeks of life. 

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.

For more information on exceptions and exemptions, visit https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17001.aspx

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 Monday, Dec. 14: Access for designated support persons and visitors in AHS acute care facilities includes the following:

  • One (1) designated support person for each patient in ambulatory, emergency, urgent care, maternity/postpartum and other inpatient areas.
  • Up to two (2) designated support persons for each patient in critical care, pediatrics and NICU.

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: