What you need to know about Dining in the Canadian Rockies

    Kate Barker September 20, 2021

    Due to the current covid situation in Alberta and the subsequent stress on the healthcare system, restrictions have been put in place to protect the population and our healthcare workers while allowing business to stay open.

    In order to remain open, keep their staff employed, and contribute to the economy, many restaurants in the Canadian Rockies are participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program. For the majority of businesses, participating in this program is vital to staying open and staying afloat. Here at The Dining Guide, we support all our restaurants, and we encourage everyone to be kind during this time.

    Here is what you need to know about the current Restrictions Exemption Program.

    Be kind as everyone figures out this fourth wave together.

    What it means

    To protect Albertans and visitors, the government has placed restrictions on establishments such as restaurants. For restaurants who DON’T participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program, things like indoor dining, alcohol sales after 10 pm, and alcohol consumption after 11 pm are prohibited. For restaurants that DO participate in the program, the only restrictions are physical distancing and masking while not seated at a table. With the chilly fall weather settling in the mountains, outdoor dining options are quickly becoming impossible.


    What you need

    So what do you need to dine at restaurants participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program? There are 3 options:

    1. Proof of vaccination

    For Albertans, this can be easily downloaded here. For out-of-province visitors, check with your provincial governments for acceptable documentation. International travellers can use the ArriveCan app with a valid international travel identification document, similar to what was needed to enter the country. Proof can be printed or digital, so long as it’s clear the person is fully vaccinated.

    Everyone over the age of 12 must present proof of vaccination and anyone over 18 must also present a valid personal ID. Acceptable identification needs a name and birthday, but does not require a photo. The government of Alberta has provided the following examples for identification: birth certificate, citizenship card, driver’s license, health card, other government issued identification card, metis card, treaty card, Inuit status card, passport, or permanent resident card.

    2. A negative covid test

    Proof of a negative covid test must be a written or printed document. Digital reproductions of these test results will not be accepted. The test must be a Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR or lab PCR test from an accredited lab. The documentation must clearly state the lab that completed the test, the type of test, the time the sample was taken, and have a clear indication of a negative result. This negative test is only valid for 72 hours, and older tests will not be accepted.

    This test needs to come from a privately paid clinic. Test results from Alberta Health Services are not valid to access restaurants since they are being reserved for people experiencing symptoms and to track outbreaks. If you are experiencing symptoms, you are required to isolate!

    3. A valid medical exemption

    The medical exemption must be an original signed letter from a physician or nurse practitioner. Photocopies or digital reproductions will not be accepted. This exemption has to include the name of the exempted person, the complete information of the physician or nurse practitioner (name, phone number, contact information, professional registration number, and signature), a statement that there is a valid medical reason for the exemption, and the duration of the exemption. This exemption must also be presented alongside valid ID.


    Please pack your patience!

    Everyone is experiencing these changes right now and it’s not always easy to adapt. These new regulations and the Restrictions Exemption Program came on fast, so restaurant staff and visitors may need extra time to figure things out. Many restaurants are also short staffed, meaning they might have reduced hours or slower service as they navigate these new restrictions and the rules of the exemption program.

    The restaurants in the Canadian Rockies need your business, and they’re eager to provide the best food and best service possible. We encourage everyone to safely access these restaurants for their delicious cuisine and excellent atmospheres, but please remember everyone working at these businesses is just a human being trying to navigate this pandemic. We’re all in this together. So be kind, bring your patience, and do your part to help put this pandemic behind us for good!


    Want to learn more? Find further information on Alberta Public Health Restrictions and the Requirements for the Restrictions Exemption Program.

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