Vaccine passport program changes, other restrictions go into effect in Alberta

Last minute changes and lack of clarity have left some Alberta business owners asking for everyone to get on the same page about COVID-19 restrictions. Cara Campbell speaks to a few owners ahead of restrictions coming into effect Monday.

EDMONTON – A new batch of restrictions come into effect in Alberta Monday with the vaccine passport program as data shows the province is fewer than 10 days away from overwhelming its health-care system.

Many businesses and services are able to choose whether or not to request proof of vaccination at the door–opting in means they can forgo some restrictions.

However, a wide range of businesses no longer qualify for the exemption program even if they do request vaccination proof.


Businesses who aren’t eligible for the program:
• Retailers and shopping malls
• Libraries
• Private events
• health and wellness services
• K-12 schools and publicly-funded post-secondary institutions
• Hotels
• Places of worship

The vaccine passport system comes into effect Monday. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces.

Vaccine passport eligibility confusing, businesses owners say

Some businesses remain confused over the vaccine passport. Previously, retailers were among those who were able opt in to the vaccine program instead of reducing capacity to a third of the fire code.

That changes over the weekend.

Peggy Rafuse owns Imagine Vintage Shop in Inglewood and she didn’t know about the change. She says the whole process has been confusing.

“Everybody needs to get on the same page,” she said.


Her sentiments are echoed by other business owners who listened to Premier Jason Kenney’s press conference about the restrictions.

“I felt like he had all of these confusing restrictions, and then, at the end was saying, ‘but you could get a passport’,” added Antiquware owner Theresa Morgan.

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Both of these shops had already decided they would be reducing capacity, rather than asking for proof of vaccination.

“I believe in vaccination a million percent, but I don’t want to ask people. I just don’t want to argue with customers,” said Morgan.

Alberta health care system on the verge of collapse

It all comes as Alberta is nearing its intensive care unit capacity, being on the brink of a health-care system collapse.

Once that happens, it’ll trigger the final resort protocol (Critical Care Triage Protocol) where doctors will have to triage patients to figure out which they can save and which they can’t save with the limited Alberta Health Services resources.

Meantime, the leaders of Alberta’s largest health-care unions say it’s time to call in the military to help the province’s overwhelmed system.

In a post on the Alberta Federal of Labour website, the presidents of four unions which represent a total of more than 100,000 people working in Alberta’s health-care system say that the system is running out of resources.


“We’ve run out of staff, Kenney’s fourth wave is collapsing the system,” The AFL wrote.

They say the premier needs to ask the federal government to immediately deploy the military, red cross, and all available medical resources to help in Alberta hospitals.

“There are no more nurses in our province who can be deployed. There are no more paramedics. There are no more respiratory therapists. There is no more support staff. The tank is empty, the well is dry,” the union leaders say.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s health minister says the military and red cross would have limited ability to provide clinical resources, so no request has been made for their help.

He does explain however, a request could come if they are needed to provide equipment or logistical support such as patient transport.

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