Recreation and Culture

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.

In order to continue providing recreation and culture opportunities in a safe and responsible way, The City has implemented the Provincial Restrictions Exemption Program for all City owned and operated recreation and culture facilities.

What does this mean?

Opting into the Restrictions Exemption Program allows us to operate without additional restrictions, (masks are still required), if we follow the guidelines below:

The following guests/visitors/spectators are required to show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative rapid COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry:

  • Adults 18 years and over to access the facility for any purpose (other than paid personnel on-site performing work-related responsibilities)
  • Youth 12-17 years who are visiting the facility as spectators or to use the common areas or concourse
  • Effective Tuesday, October 12, youth 12-17 years who are engaging in activities with a combination of youth and adult participants (most drop-in activities and many fitness programs)
  • Coaches, instructors, trainers, referees and other sport volunteers, who are 18 and older

The following guests are not required to show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative rapid COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry:

  • Children under 12 years*
  • Youth aged 12-17 who are directly participating in youth-only activities or sport

*Children under 8 years of age are required to have a parent or guardian over the age of 16 years on-site. Parents or guardians must adhere to the Restrictions Exemption Program guidelines.

For more information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Visit the Government of Alberta's website for full details on the September 15 announcement.

Frequently Asked Questions - last updated Oct. 15, 9:30 a.m.

What is the impact on leaseholder spaces?

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.

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 have 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?

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.
    • 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.
    • This includes coaches, instructors, trainers, referees and other sport volunteers as per a Government of Alberta update on Friday, September 24, 2021.
    • This includes youth aged 12-17 who are participating in combined youth/adult activities such as most drop-in programming and many fitness programs. (Effective Tuesday, October 12)
  • Paid personnel attending for purposes other than as a patron or attendee (e.g., support staff, delivery/repair workers, contractors, etc.) can enter to perform their responsibilities without proof of vaccination, exemption, or negative COVID-19 test.
  • Youth-only sport, fitness and performance participants ages 12-17 can participate in their activities without proof of vaccination, exemption or negative COVID-19 test.

Facilities include:

  • 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.

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. These restrictions would include, but are not limited to: physical distancing for 2 m for all indoor and outdoor activities (including spectators) and no group activities or use for adults over the age of 18 (this applies to facility rentals as well). In addition, we would be required to limit the capacity to 1/3, and visitors could only attend with their household cohort.

We are implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program as developed by the Government of Alberta. Details of the program are available on the Government of Alberta website. Any questions about the program itself should be directed to the Province.

If you have questions about how the Restriction Exemption Program affects City of Red Deer facilities that aren’t addressed in this FAQ, please email recreation@reddeer.ca.

How do I show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative rapid test?

As of September 28, one of the following is required*:

Proof of vaccination
  • Valid personal identification** that matches the vaccine record (only required for adults 18 and over)
  • Valid paper or digital vaccine record that shows name, vaccine type and date of administration:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Photos of a rapid test result taken offsite is not sufficient.
    • Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
    • Valid personal identification** that matches the proof of negative test result.
  • Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
  • Home style tests are not acceptable.
Proof of medical exemption
  • A valid medical exemption is the original signed letter from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes:
    • Person's name that matches their personal identification**.
    • 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.

**Examples of valid personal identification may include: Birth Certificate, Citizenship Card, Drivers License, provincially issued identification (ie. Health Care Card), Metis Card, Treaty Card, Inuit Status Card, passport or Permanent Resident Card. 

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.

Why is The City adopting the Restrictions Exemption Program when other surrounding communities are not?

While some surrounding communities may have opted to not implement the program, it’s important to remember that each community offers a different level of service and in different types of facilities. When we reviewed our operating environment (facilities, programs, services), it was determined that adopting the Restriction Exemption Program would allow us to continue providing safe and accessible recreation opportunities for the community.

The Government of Alberta provided two options to businesses: adopt the Restrictions Exemption Program, or operate under a number of restrictions. These restrictions would include, but are not limited to: physical distancing for 2 m for all indoor and outdoor activities (including spectators) and no group activities or use for adults over the age of 18 (this applies to facility rentals as well). In addition, we would be required to limit the capacity to 1/3, and visitors could only attend with their household cohort. If we were to implement these restrictions, programs and services, along with facility admission would be significantly impacted. 

How does this affect my 12-17 year old?

On October 6, 2021 The Province provided further clarity on youth participation in facilities participating in the REP. Effective Tuesday, October 12, in adherence to the provincial REP, The City will begin screening all youth aged 12-17 when participating in combined adult/youth activities.

What does this mean?

  • If a 12-17 year old is participating in an activity where individuals 18 years and over may also be participating, proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative COVID-19 test will be required from all participants, including the youth. 
  • This change will impact our sport rental groups and most drop-in programs such as drop-in skating, swimming and fieldhouse use as well as many fitness programs.
  • The REP allows for 12-17 year olds participating in youth-only programming to continue without proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative Covid-19 test.
  • Over the course of the coming days and weeks, City of Red Deer staff will be working hard to provide additional opportunities for youth-only drop-in activities.

 

Does The City have the legal authority to ask for proof of vaccination/medical exemption or negative test result in order to access facilities?

The Government of Alberta provided two options to businesses (including recreation and culture facilities): adopt the Restrictions Exemption Program, or operate under a number of restrictions. The City of Red Deer has chosen to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program in order to continue providing recreation and culture services to Red Deerians in a safe and responsible way. We are participating in the program in compliance with Public Health Orders issues by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. The most recent orders can be viewed here: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-orders-and-legislation.aspx.

We are confident that the Province of Alberta would not have established the Restrictions Exemptions Program if operators would be violating the Charter Rights of Albertans by participating. 

Who qualifies as exempt personnel?

The Provincial Restrictions Exemption Program allows those entering the facility for purposes other than as a patron or attendee to enter without providing proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative test result. Examples include:

  • Support staff or aids for visitors with special needs
  • Workers, contractors, repair workers and delivery workers
I am a coach, trainer, referee or sport volunteer, am I exempt?

No. Coaches, trainers, referees and sport volunteers, over the age of 18, are not exempt from the Restrictions Exemption program (REP). 

As per provincial direction, coaches, trainers, referees and sport volunteers under the age of 18 are exempt from screening when actively participating in programming.

On Friday, September 24, the Government of Alberta provided additional direction regarding the REP. Effective September 30, anyone performing these duties in City of Red Deer owned and operated facilities are required to provide proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test result or proof of medical exemption.

Previous communications from the Government of Alberta indicated that these individuals would be exempt from the REP; however, we continue to receive new information from the province as they make changes and clarifications to the program. As The City of Red Deer has adopted the Restrictions Exemption Program, we are required to adhere to all components, as outlined by the Government of Alberta. This change applies to all facilities participating in the Restrictions Exemption program; it was not a Red Deer specific decision.  

Are youth volunteers (under the age of 18) exempt?

As per provincial direction, coaches, trainers, referees and sport volunteers under the age of 18 are exempt from screening when actively participating in programming.

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 recreation@reddeer.ca or 403-309-8411 to request a refund for programs and passes. Email facilitybookings@reddeer.ca to request a refund for facility rentals.

Can individuals from different households still participate in activities together?

Yes, individuals from different households are able to participate in activities and programs at City of Red Deer facilities. Under the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program, so long as the participants follow the requirements for proof of vaccination, medical exemption or negative COVID-19 test (where required) there are no other gathering restrictions in place within participating facilities.

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.

When will The City accept QR Codes for proof of vaccination?

The City will continue to accept paper versions of proof of vaccination up until November 15th. We are currently working to have QR Code readers available at facilities. As of November 15th, following requirements under the Government of Alberta's COVID19 Restrictions Exemption Program, ONLY QR codes will be accepted as proof of vaccination.

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.

Are City Staff required to be vaccinated?

On Tuesday, October 5, The City of Red Deer announced the implementation of a COVID-19 immunization policy for City staff.

The City is implementing this policy to provide an added layer of protection for our staff to keep them and our community healthy while also protecting our healthcare system. More information on this can be found here: City implements COVID-19 immunization policy for staff.

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 un-parented preschool and childminding participants, please contact the program lead for further information about drop-off and pick-up options.

Parented programs: all parents or guardians with children enrolled in parented preschool programs must show proof of vaccination, medical exemption, or negative rapid COVID-19 test within 72 hours of participation.

With the Restrictions Exemption Program temporarily in place at recreation facilities, will I be getting a refund on my taxes or tax break in 2022?

There will not be any tax refunds as this is a temporary, operational implementation to help keep our community safe and healthy. 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 recreation@reddeer.ca or 403-309-8411 to request a refund for programs and passes. Email facilitybookings@reddeer.ca 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.

If you'd like to see how your tax dollar is spent, please visit www.reddeer.ca/budget. Here you can find the full breakdown of approved operating and capital budgets including funding sources.

Can my vaccination information be kept on file so I only have to show it once?

We are not storing or documenting any vaccination information from our customers.

At this time, the Provincial Government has not released a system for the management and storage of personal vaccination data. In the interest of FOIP, we will not be creating a City of Red Deer specific process for the storage of personal vaccination information at this time.

 

Don’t see the answer to your COVID-19 related question? Email covid-19@reddeer.ca.