Caution is advised as Alberta relaxes many COVID-19 restrictions

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Restorer Leslie Echino laughs at the idea that even if Alberta lifts many other restrictions on COVID-19, its business could return to near normal levels.Restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes will no longer be limited to half the capacity starting today, although they will still have to follow distance rules and not accommodate more than six people per table.

This means that Echino will no longer be able to squeeze more customers into Annabelle’s Kitchen’s 70 square meters in Calgary’s Marda Loop neighborhood.

“It doesn’t change a single place in my restaurant,” she said. “I can no longer put tramps in the seats. ”

The restaurant had a pre-pandemic capacity of 52, but can only hold 18 to 20 with a physical distance. Reducing the required space by half a meter, as other countries have done, could help accommodate a few more.

Deferred, unreduced costs

Overhead costs such as rent and utilities have been deferred, but not reduced. Echino said the restaurant would be devastated without a patio that doubles its capacity and attracts customers in hot weather.

She added that she never sees the restaurant industry reverting to its traditional catering model, and businesses will have to diversify in the long term with catering, pickup and curbside delivery.

Arts Commons, a multi-theater theater complex in downtown Calgary, is also rethinking its post-pandemic future, although some performances may resume.

No voice performances yet

Instrumental concerts are allowed, but the respiratory droplets that could carry the new coronavirus mean that there will still be no vocal performances. Show groups can have up to 50 members.

Arts Commons president Alex Sarian said there was no timetable for the resumption of performances.

“The last thing we want, both as an institution and as a sector, is that a second wave goes back to an artistic gathering,” he said. “It would be devastating. ”

Sarian said Arts Commons is exploring ways to showcase the arts this summer through outdoor or live events – a particularly big offering with trips still largely off the table.

“While we are grateful for the opportunity to start thinking about reopening, we also need to look at our business model and collectively determine when does it really make sense to really start to open the floodgates?” ”

Indoor recreation, fitness and sports facilities may also reopen, including gymnasiums, arenas and swimming pools.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said city-run facilities should not be expected to operate today, with the possible exception of a few outdoor dry fields for sports like ball hockey.

“We have laid off 15% of our staff. We have not hired our seasonal workers, “he said. “You can’t turn around. When the province announces Tuesday, you just can’t hire all of these people until Friday. “

“The reopening of the facilities is very complex”

The City of Edmonton is examining how recreation centers, arenas, swimming pools and libraries can open and says they could be phased in over time or stay on hold.

“The reopening of the facilities is very complex and given the financial impact of the pandemic, some services will not return this season,” said the city.

Libraries are also allowed to open, but Calgary is waiting until June 23 to reopen at three locations. If this goes well, more branches will be added in the following weeks.

Even today, health services such as acupuncture, massage and reflexology can accommodate clients, as can manicure, beauty and tanning salons.

Cinemas, bingo halls, team sports and casinos (minus table games) are also expected to reopen.

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