Edmonton restaurateur calls on Premier Kenney for foreclosure and financial support

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EDMONTON – A local leader and business owner is asking Premier Jason Kenney to lock down his business and others like her – citing security and financial concerns. “While I don’t want a lockdown, I think it’s the right thing to do at this point,” Chef Paul Shufelt said Tuesday night.

Kenney announced new restrictions on social gatherings and businesses on Tuesday as the province tries to control the spread of COVID-19.

Alberta restaurants and pubs are limited, but still allowed to serve customers inside who are unmasked when eating and drinking.

Shufelt, who owns and operates The Workshop Eatery and Robert Spencer Hospitality, believes the best thing for everyone is to shut down dining rooms for 30 days.

“We are not doing enough at the moment to make changes … these half measures put lives at risk and increase the likelihood that more people will be sick and more people will be hospitalized and unfortunately more will die,” he said. Shufelt said.

Kenney claims he’s using data to impose targeted restrictions in an attempt to protect “lives and livelihoods” – but provincial figures show Alberta doesn’t know where the vast majority of new transmissions are occurring, because most cases were not traced by contact.

“So the reality is that while we have seen some people who work in the hospitality industry test positive, of course I remember the last data I saw we identified 18 outbreaks during over the past nine months, in Alberta’s 13,000 hotel companies, which means something like 99.8% of those companies have not had outbreaks, ”Kenney said Tuesday defending his decision to allow continuing meals in person.

Kenney argued he had nine months of coronavirus data to make his decisions – but Opposition Leader Rachel Notley criticized his decisions on Tuesday.

“As for the restaurants and bars, they don’t make any changes to what they announced 12 days ago, but let’s be clear, over the past 12 days our caseload has gotten out of hand and restaurants and bars are one of the few remaining places. where people can congregate, many of them together, indoors, without a mask, ”Notley said.

RESTAURANTS BEYOND RESTRICTIONS

Other local restaurants Northern Chicken and Cartago have already decided to suspend in-person meals due to the increase in coronavirus cases, and Shufelt is considering doing the same.

“I think this is the safest thing for our staff and our community to do,” said Shufelt, although he acknowledged the province’s efforts to try to keep it open.

“I really think (Kenney) is trying to start a small business, but I think it’s too little too late,” he added.

Shufelt suggested the province could fight the virus better by shutting down in-person meals and offering struggling restaurants rent assistance and bill freezes instead.

Restaurants Canada – a group representing more than 40,000 members, disagreed in an October statement – saying sweeping lockdowns were unnecessary.

“Restaurants have invested over $ 750 million in training, sanitation stations, PPE, air purification systems and other protective equipment, all designed to provide the highest levels of safety to our customers. clients, ”the organization’s website read.

A full list of current restrictions, including restaurant and pub restrictions, is available online.

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