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COVID-19: Relaunch - Stage 1 for Businesses

Helping you reopen

Guidance for reopening​ is provided by the Government of Alberta.​​ 

You can download a template to create your reopening plan from Alberta Biz-Connect, and download posters​​ for various business types to tell your customers how you are preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Calgary's guide to reopening​ can help you determine whether your business can reopen. 

Relaunch FAQ

Where can I find information to determine if my business is allowed to open during the first relaunch stage, as of May 14, 2020?

The Government of Alberta provides information on its relaunch strategy online at

This includes information about the conditions for relaunch as well as an overview of the different relaunch stages with lists of lifted restrictions and continuing restrictions.

This information is high level, and The City is working on trying to add further detail where possible and then share online as the province releases this information.

If you can’t find your business on the Government of Alberta relaunch strategy or if you have questions about how relaunch may apply to your business, please email​

What is important to communicate to my staff and customers related to COVID-19?

An employer should encourage staff to remain up to date with developments to COVID-19.

Notify employees and customers of the steps being taking by your business to prevent the risk of transmission of infection, and the importance of their roles in these measures. This should include:

  • How your staff can mitigate risks of transmission when commuting to and from work;
  • How your staff can mitigate risks of transmission in their homes and shared living spaces;
  • How staff can mitigate risks when engaging in other activities outside of work, including secondary job locations; and
  • How customers can mitigate risks when conducting business/being served in store.

Post this information in areas where its easily accessible for staff and customers.


Who will set the rules for each business type/sector?

The Government of Alberta, working with Alberta Health Services, is guiding how our province begins to re-open. More information about guidance for reopening can be found at

 At The City, we will also look to provide further clarity and details for Calgary businesses. Additionally, if there is a professional college related to your business, we strongly recommended you work with them for specific guidelines and rules.

Will provincial/federal support programs cease to provide aid once businesses are allowed to open?


In order to support Canadians, the Canadian economy, and to protect jobs several government support programs have been enhanced or extended:

  • Youth Employment and Skills Program – on May 26, 2020 the Government of Canada announced investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skill Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry
  • The Government of Canada announced the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) program on May 11, 2020 and opened the application process on May 20, 2020. This program will support Canada’s largest employers whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing. LEEFF will be delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Department of Finance.
  • The Government of Alberta is working on its own credit facility. There have been reports that many large and medium-sized Alberta companies have not been able to access the Government of Canada’s programs yet. The Government of Alberta is closely monitoring for gaps and the performance of federal programs.
  • The Eligibility of the Canadian Emergency Business Account has been expanded (May 19, 2020) to now include sole owner-operators, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned businesses with employees paid via dividends.
  • The Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund.
  • On May 15, 2020 the Government of Canada announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for three months until August 29, 2020.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) was extended by the Government of Canada to include mid-sized companies with larger financing needs (May 11, 2020). Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.

This information reflects the most current government announcements. It will be updated regularly as different orders of governments provide updates on their programs and new information becomes available.​​​

How will AHS ensure/monitor businesses are following protocols?

If Albertans are concerned that businesses are not following public health orders, they have several options to act:

  • Remind the business owner or operator that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk.
  • Submit a complaint online to AHS public health inspectors at COVID-19 Public health order violations.
  • Call 1-833-415-9179 to submit a complaint by leaving a message when prompted.

Which governing body will enforce social distancing and AHS guidelines if the local state of emergency is lifted at the municipal and/or provincial levels?

In general the governing body is the provincial government. Public health officials will work with business owners to understand and comply with guidelines. Complaints that require an immediate response can also be reported to your local police force through their administrative phone line. Please DO NOT call municipal 911 services.

How tough will AHS inspectors be on businesses?

In general the governing body is the provincial government. Public health officials will work with business owners to understand and comply with guidelines. Complaints that require an immediate response can also be reported to your local police force through their administrative phone line. Please DO NOT call municipal 911 services.

Public health requirements

Distancing in business

What are the fines for violation of required physical distancing measures?

​​The City will work as hard as possible to ensure compliance through education and information, and that it is in everyone’s best interest to adhere to these requirements. When this is not possible, the fines set by the Province for violating Public Health Orders are dependent on the variables and conditions of each specific situation. ​

Who has the authority to enforce safe physical distancing measures?

The Government of Alberta is responsible for issuing Public Health Orders such as physical distancing requirements. As a City, we work hard to help educate and inform organizations and individuals about the importance of physical distancing. We hope that people understand the reason for these measures, and that physical distancing is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 to loved ones, neighbours, and our fellow Calgarians. For those situations when physical distancing measures are intentionally disregarded, Alberta Health Services, Calgary Police Services, and Calgary Community Standards are authorized to issue violation tickets on behalf of the Province. Call 311 to report this.​​

When will the social distancing requirement of 2 metres be reduced? Is this under review?

The social distancing requirements of 2 metres is not going to change and there is no indication that this will be reduced. Physical distancing remains the most important mitigation strategy to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19.

The relaunch strategy is being developed with the advice of public health officials as a framework to keep Albertans safe while carefully lifting the restrictions implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stage 3 timing and overall restrictions will be determined based on health indicators. Some restrictions and enhanced protection controls will remain in place.​

There are different numbers allowed for standing gatherings (maximum 50 people) and seated events (maximum 100 people). Is the seated vs. standing the differentiator?

Yes, the differentiator is seating vs. standing as seating provides more control and there is less opportunity for people to move around through the crowd. However, guests would not need to remain seated the entire time, but would need to maintain a 2 metre distance from individuals not from the same household.

Cleaning and sanitizing

Which rules do I have to follow for cleaning and sanitizing equipment and surfaces?

In general, employers and businesses should promote and facilitate frequent and proper hand hygiene for employees, volunteers and patrons.

It is strongly encouraged that businesses provide a means to sanitize hands at entrances to the business and at other locations in a business where patrons and staff are known to handle goods.

Employers should instruct staff and volunteers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (greater than 60% alcohol content).

The AHS Hand Hygiene education webpage has more information, posters and videos about hand hygiene.

Glove use alone is not a substitute for hand hygiene. Hands should be cleaned before and after using gloves.

The use of posters that remind staff, volunteers and patrons to practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene is strongly encouraged in work areas where they are easily seen (e.g., entrances, washrooms and staff rooms).

It is important to note the difference between cleaning and disinfecting! Cleaning refers to the removal of visible soil. Cleaning does not kill germs but is highly effective at removing them from a surface. Disinfecting refers to using a chemical to kill germs on a surface. Disinfecting is only effective after surfaces have been cleaned.

  • Use a “wipe-twice” method to clean and disinfect. Wipe surfaces with a cleaning agent to clean off soil and wipe again with a disinfectant.

Develop and implement procedures for increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas, common areas, public washrooms and showering facilities.

Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch/shared surfaces such as:

  • Doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, faucets and taps, elevator buttons, railings
  • Phones, computers, remote controls, keyboards, desktops, conference room equipment, cash registers, surface counters, customer service counters, menus
  • Equipment handles, hand tools, machinery control panels, seat belt buckles, joysticks, steering wheels and controls on powered mobile equipment
  • Staff rooms, kitchens, washrooms

Regular household cleaning and disinfecting products are effective against COVID-19 when used according to the directions on the label.

  • Use a disinfectant that has a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and a virucidal claim (efficacy against viruses).
  • Alternatively, use a bleach-water solution with 100 ml of bleach to 900 ml water.
  • Health Canada has approved several hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against COVID-19. Use these lists to look up the DIN number of the product you are using or to find an approved product.
  • Make sure to follow instructions on the product label to disinfect effectively.

Disposable towels and spray cleaners, or disposable wipes, should be available to staff, volunteers and (as necessary) patrons to regularly clean commonly used surfaces.

Remove all communal items that cannot be easily cleaned, such as newspapers, magazines, and stuffed toys.


Staff and customers

Do I need to screen staff and customers?

Employers should implement active daily screening of staff, volunteers and patrons for COVID-19 related symptoms. You can use this general screening questionnaire​ and adapt it for your specific business needs.

Anyone who is sick with cold-like symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath MUST NOT be in the workplace.

Patrons with these symptoms should not be allowed in the workplace and should be advised to return home.

For the purpose of tracing close contacts, employers should be able to indicate

  • Roles and positions of persons working in the workplace
  • Who was working onsite at any given time
  • Who an employee may have worked with on any given shift

If a workplace has patrons within 2 metres of employees, then lists of patrons by time and date should also be kept.


Personal protective equipment

Where can I order personal protective equipment (PPE)?

The Government of Alberta has published two websites where business can purchase PPE:

Rapid Response Platform Canada -

ATB Nexus -​​

If a business would like to sell personal protective equipment (PPE), where can a business go to find more information about offering products and services?

Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can go to the Alberta Bits and Pieces ( website to find out how to help.​

Is there a subsidy for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE)?

As of July 1, 2020, businesses and non-Alberta Health Services (AHS) organizations will be required to access PPE directly through suppliers. Information on PPE suppliers is available on Alberta Biz Connect to help organizations and businesses source their own PPE supply. Two links are provided through the Biz Connect website to assist businesses in buying PPE.​​

Business sectors


Are shopping centers allowed to open if retail stores can open?

​Yes, shopping centers will be allowed to open under the condition of certain strict physical distancing measures. As further information and details are shares by the Government of Alberta, we will post on

Restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs​

All information is based on information obtained from the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. Further guidance for restaurant businesses is available at Alberta Biz Connect.

Can people that share a table at a restaurant or on a patio be from different households?

People that share a table  should be from the same household or cohort. All tables are required to be properly spaced – 2m apart – in accordance with physical distancing measures.​

Am I as the restaurant owner responsible for enforcing that customers who share a table are from the same household/cohort?

While a business/restaurant owner generally has the responsibility to ensure their staff and customers are safe and transmission of COVID-19 is mitigated, there is no guidance or requirement, or expectation for a restaurant owner to enforce this requirement.​​

Restaurants are struggling with the implementation of the 2m physical distancing requirement when it comes to providing public washrooms due to the typical location of washrooms in hallways. Is there any guidance or direction available from the Government

Individual restaurant owners are encouraged to reach out to their Public Health Inspector for assistance. Advice will depend on site-specific constraints so it is best to connect with the responsible Public Health Inspector directly. Restaurant owners can fill out a form here and be directed to their Pubic Health Inspector at Contact Environmental Public Health.​​​

How do I apply for an outdoor patio?

What is the current gathering limit for my café, restaurant, bar or pub?

With the Relaunch Phase 2 that started June 12, 2020, the operating limit of 50% capacity has been lifted. However, the 2 metre physical distancing measure is still in place and must be followed.

It’s important to note that the 2 metre separation is between people, not between tables, to ensure physical distancing to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19. Implementing the 2 metre distance will determine how many people can be hosted at any given time in your café, restaurant, pub or bar.​ 

What rules do I have to follow when setting up outdoor space such as a restaurant patio?

Patios and other outside spaces related to the operation of a café, restaurant, bar or pub have to follow the same rules as restaurants, i.e. maintaining a 2 metre distance between people to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19. Please refer to the restaurant guide provided by the Government of Alberta’s guidance for restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars.​​

Which entertainment and gaming options are allowed in restaurants?

VLT play, bowling, video arcade games and pools tables (all table games) are allowed in restaurants with the start of Relaunch Phase 2 as of June 12, 2020. However, all activities should follow the COVID-19 general reopening guidance​. Physical distancing must be maintained with a 2 metre separation between people. Dancing on dance floors, karaoke and other singing, shisha, hookah and water pipes are still not permitted at this time.

Where can I find guidelines for VLTs?

Please refer to Guidance for VLT Retailers.

Is bar service allowed? If so, can I prepare food and drinks at the bar if customers are present?

Please refer to the guidance for restaurants, cafes, pubs, and Bars. Restaurant, bar and pub owners should post signs at the entrance reminding patrons that they should not enter if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. Please refer to Biz-Connect for guidance on infection prevention and control, general guidance and specific guidance for restaurants, etc. for additional information on implementing safe practices.​

In bars and pubs patrons should not be permitted to lineup to purchase beverages. However, pubs and bars may allow patrons to sit at the bar to consume food and/or beverages. Business owners should consider removing chairs/stools to ensure 2 metre physical distancing between customers. There is no specific guidance for food preparation at the bar; however, businesses are still required to follow the Food Regulation and Food Retail and Foodservices to ensure safe preparation and handling of food. As each business is unique, businesses need to assess their own situation and are required, under current Chief Medical Officer of Health Orders, to implement practices to minimize the risk of spread and transmission of COVID-19.​

To meet physical distancing rules, can I put Plexiglas between VLT machines? Or, do they need to follow physical distancing measures?

Please refer to Guidance for VLT Retailers. AGLC will work with each VLT retailer to ensure that VLTs are spaced every 2 meters, unless separated by a clear physical barrier that does not obstruct the view of the front of the machines by the staff or cameras. Physical barriers are not to be attached to gaming equipment (contact AGLC for details). The remaining units will remain disabled. VLT retailers should remove all chairs at unavailable devices.


Are hotels required to provide specific guest lists who have used the pool?


Please refer to the guidance for swimming pools and whirlpools. To support public health contact tracing efforts in the event that an attendee tests positive or an outbreak is identified, operators should consider collecting the names and contact information of pool attendees.

Records should be kept on file for two weeks, stored in a safe and secure location, and then disposed of to maintain the confidentiality of participants (shredding of documents). However, providing information is voluntary for attendees. A business owner must obtain an individual’s consent and notify them about the purpose and legal authority for the collection.