COVID update: Restrictions Exemption Program and mandatory masking
Following the announcement of new public health guidelines on September 15, 2021, The City will implement the Restrictions Exemption Program requiring proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative rapid test result for visitors and participants at City recreation and culture facilities.
- What is the Restrictions Exemption Program?
On September 15, 2021, the Government of Alberta declared a State of Public Health Emergency due to the rising hospitalizations and cases of COVID-19. As a result, they are implementing province-wide restrictions in an effort to reduce the impact of the pandemic.
The Restrictions Exemption Program allows businesses to operate as usual as long as patrons aged 12 and older provide proof of vaccination, medical exemption or a negative rapid test result. In order to continue providing recreation and culture opportunities in a safe and responsible way, The City has decided to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program for all City owned and operated recreation and culture facilities.
- How does the Restrictions Exemption Program affect facilities?
Two exceptions to the REP include; volunteers performing sport-related responsibilities, and youth aged 12-17 participating in activities will not be required to show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative COVID-19 rapid test results.
Starting September 20, the following applies at City owned and operated recreation and culture facilities*:
• Anyone ages 18 or older will require will require proof of vaccination, medical exemption or a negative rapid test result within 72 hours of a visit to facilities.
o From September 20 to October 25, proof of a single dose is considered acceptable as long as the dose was given more than two weeks before visiting a facility. After October 25, proof of double vaccination is required.
• Volunteers for organized sport groups can enter to perform their sport-related responsibilities without proof of vaccination, exemption, or negative COVID-19 test
• Youth sport, fitness and performance participants can participate in their activities without proof of vaccination, exemption or negative COVID-19 test.
*On Friday, September 17, The City announced that all vaccine-eligible individuals over the age of 12 be required to meet the requirements of the Restriction Exemptions Program.
After further clarity was provided by the Government of Alberta, revisions were made to exclude youth participants ages 12-17 and volunteers from the program.
- Collicutt Centre
- G.H. Dawe Community Centre
- Servus Arena – Walking track is open for use through Activity Reservations
- Kinex Arena
- Kinsmen Community Arenas
- Michener Aquatic Centre and Gymnasium
- Recreation Centre
- Setters Place at Great Chief Park (applies to use of indoor spaces only)
- Intermediate School
Outdoor activities are not included in the Restrictions Exemption Program.
The Restrictions Exemption Program also applies to all leaseholder spaces within City facilities. Lease holders will be responsible for sharing these new requirements with their customers. Third-party operators (e.g., River Bend, Bower Ponds, Heritage Ranch, Neighbourhood Activity Centres, etc.) will make their own decisions regarding their operations. Rental permit holders for City operated recreation and culture facilities will be responsible for sharing recreation facility requirements with their memberships and visiting teams. For organized sports, please check with your sport organization for more information about specific requirements.
- Why are you implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program?
The safety and well-being of customers, visitors and staff continues to be the driving force in our decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are adopting the Restrictions Exemption Program in an effort to continue providing safe and accessible recreation opportunities for the community. If we did not adopt the program, our programs and services would be subject to further operating restrictions, which would significantly decrease access to our facilities.
For example, without the Restrictions Exemption Program, all adult group fitness classes and activities would be cancelled, and all facilities would be reduced to 1/3 capacity.
- How do I show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative rapid test?
Acknowledging that not all Red Deerians may not be able to access their proof of vaccination immediately, The City will allow access to facilities from Monday, September 20 to Monday, September 27 with verbal confirmation of vaccination.
As of September 28, one of the following is required*:
Proof of vaccination
- From September 20 to October 25: proof of partial vaccination (one dose) is considered acceptable as long as the dose was given more than 2 weeks before the time of service.
- After October 25:proof of full vaccination (two doses) is required.
Find out how to access your records
Proof of negative test
• Tests must be privately-paid, Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR or lab-based PCR test completed within the previous 72 hours.
o Valid test results should be a written or printed copy that clearly outlines the type of test, time of sample collection, clear indication of a negative result, and laboratory that completed the test, if applicable.
o Photos of a rapid test result taken offsite is not sufficient.
o Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
• Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
Proof of medical exemption
• A valid medical exemption is the original signed letter from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes:
o Person’s name that matches their identification.
o Physician’s or nurse practitioner’s complete information, including:
name, phone number, contact information, professional registration number and signature
statement that there is a medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19
duration that the exemption is valid
*This information is take from the Government of Alberta COVID-19 website. Please visit their website for the most up to date information.
- Are masks still required?
As mandated by the Government of Alberta, masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces. Therefore, all visitors are required to wear a mask in City facilities, unless actively participating in activities.
Effective September 20, anyone unable to wear a mask will be required to provide medical exception letter from an authorized health professional. More information about mask exemptions is available at alberta.ca/masks.
- I would like to cancel a booking/registration/monthly pass because of the new guidelines. Will I get a refund?
Yes, refunds are available. Please contact [email protected] or 403-309-8411 to request a refund for programs and passes. Email [email protected] to request a refund for facility rentals.
- Can individuals from different households still participate in activities together?
Limitations are dependent on the type of activity. Indoor private social gatherings, which includes bookings for birthday parties, are limited to two households with a maximum of 10 vaccine-eligible, vaccinated people. There are no limitations on children under 12.
Physical activities, such as swimming, are not considered social gatherings and are not limited by capacity or household designation under the Restrictions Exemption Program.
- Do I have to show proof of vaccination when booking?
Proof of vaccination will be requested at the entrance to the facility. Please be prepared to show your proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative test result every time you visit a facility.
- How long will these new rules be in place?
We do not have an end date for restrictions at this time. We will continue to follow public health guidelines as set by the Government of Alberta.
10. Are City Staff required to be vaccinated?
For businesses that participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program, vaccinations for staff are not required. At this time, The City does not have a mandatory vaccine policy, but we are reviewing our approach on requiring vaccination for City employees and contractors.
11. Can a parent who is unvaccinated drop their child off for a program or activity?
Yes, if the child is 8 years or older and the parent does not enter the facility.
For children under 8, existing facility requirements remain in place; all visitors under 8 must be accompanied by an adult or someone 16 years or older. This person would need to show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative test result. The requirements of the provincial Restriction Exemption Program require all individuals over the age of 12 to be vaccinated in order to access a facility.
For preschool and childminding participants, please contact the program lead for further information.
12. Do I need to be vaccinated to enter a city facility to vote in the upcoming federal election?
The only City-owned polling station is the G.H. Dawe Community Centre. Elections Canada has an exemption from AHS allowing voters to enter polling stations without proof of vaccination. Masks will be required with proof of medical exemption for anyone not able to wear a mask.
13. With the Restrictions Exemption Program temporarily in place at City recreation and culture facilities, will I get a refund on my 2021 taxes or a tax break in 2022?
Programs, facility rentals and services offered at the recreation facilities are accessible with a fee. If you are currently registered or have a booking, you can contact us for a refund. Please contact [email protected] or 403-309-8411 to request a refund for programs and passes. Email [email protected] to request a refund for facility rentals.
Property taxes are collected for provision of services to the entire community, the main portion of your property taxes goes towards emergency services, outdoor amenities, police and road maintenance. With the funding that is put towards outdoor amenities every year, we are able to maintain our parks, trails, outdoor courts and rinks that are accessible to anyone for free.
For more information:
- Government of Alberta COVID-19 information: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
- City of Red Deer COVID-19 response: https://www.reddeer.ca/whats-happening/covid-19/
Charlie Brawn selected as the 2021 Red Deer honourary senior as a part of the Mayor’s Garden Party
Each year, Red Deer’s Mayor chooses a honourary senior who is recognized as a part of the Mayor’s Garden Party for their contributions to our community,
province and country.
This year, Mayor Tara Veer selected Charlie Brawn from Parkvale Lodge as the recipient of the Honourary Senior designation. In lieu of publically acknowledging him, Mayor Veer visited Charlie to thank him for everything he has done for our community and province, presented him with a certificate, and a donation to the charity of his choice.
At 92 years young, Charlie has been a strong community builder for many years. Charlie has volunteered and donated valuable collections of models to Sunnybrook Farm throughout his years in Red Deer, first moving here in 1988.\
Mayor Veer first met Charlie through his volunteer work, and visited him again this summer at the Mayor’s Garden Party. The purpose of the Honourary Senior is to say thank you to someone who has served our community with distinction.
“It was truly an honour to meet Charlie and his family safely outside to present him with this designation,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Charlie, like so many seniors in our community, share their knowledge and experience with us, and contribute so much to our community. I want to thank Charlie for his many contributions to the people of our city.”
The Mayor’s Garden Party is a time-honoured tradition for Red Deer seniors and those who hold the City’s highest office. This year, with safety of residents and staff top of mind, the party took to the road.
“Even though we were unable to host our seniors in the gardens of City Hall Park again this year, we couldn’t miss this annual opportunity to celebrate them,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our seniors for sharing your skills, knowledge and experience through the years. You all have contributed to the strength of our community, province and country, and we honour you for the legacies you have built.
New Red Deer City Councillor joins frontline workers in protest against ‘mandatory’ vaccination
Under imminent threat of losing their jobs, as many as two hundred frontline healthcare workers including paramedics, nurses, and fire fighters gathered in downtown Red Deer Thursday afternoon for a silent protest in front of City Hall Park. Organizer Kaitlin King, a paramedic from the North Central region says she represents thousands of workers who’ve already had covid and benefit from a very high level of immunity. Despite her opposition to the covid vaccines, King says she’d be willing to be tested on a regular basis if that was an option.
As of Friday afternoon, AHS claims 94% of it’s employees are fully vaccinated. That number is contested by those who point out the AHS boosted the percentage of vaccinated employees drastically by dropping “casual” employees from their stats.
Whatever the actual number is, AHS has decided it it too high. Friday, AHS announced via Twitter, that the deadline for AHS employees to be vaccinated or face the loss of their jobs would be delayed from November 1st, to December 1st.
AHS is hoping thousands of employees who’ve decided against the jab so far, will change their minds and begin the process in the coming days.
Meanwhile it appears Vaccine Mandates will be hotly contested by Red Deer’s new City Council. Newly elected Councillor Victor Doerksen attended the silent rally Thursday. Doerksen is looking forward to discussing the validity of mandates with his fellow council members as soon as possible.
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