Calgary’s hospitality industry feels targeted by latest COVID measures – .

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Calgary’s hospitality industry feels targeted by latest COVID measures – .


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Members of Calgary’s restaurant and bar industry say they feel targeted by Alberta’s latest COVID-19 public health measures, 18 months after the start of a pandemic that has seen them grapple with at various closures.

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Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced various public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 on Friday. These initiatives include a province-wide mask mandate in all indoor public places as well as a liquor curfew that will see licensed establishments cease alcohol sales at 10 p.m. Bars, restaurants, lounges and other dining venues will be allowed to remain open beyond the curfew.

Unvaccinated people are also advised to limit their close contact to 10 people.

Leslie Echino, owner of Annabelle’s Kitchen and Bar Annabelle as well as co-founder of the Alberta Hospitality Association, said she knew restrictions would come due to the increase in cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, but that the curfew sends the message that bars are the only source of transmission.

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“It feels like the blame is on the restaurants and bars,” Echino said. “Fear, I think, for a lot of us, is what happened last year. Curfews don’t work. At 10 p.m. everyone will go to the streets or to people’s houses, where no one controls it.

She said she would have preferred to see different restrictions that don’t affect openings, like keeping people at their tables. Echino said she kept her downtown wine bar closed for most of the summer because it was a small space and had just reopened it. Now she expects it to stay closed.

“We were hoping people would go back to work and you know people would go out for business meetings. We all do whatever we have to do, which is security and vaccinations, and then it’s a bit of a slap for sure, ”Echino said.

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The food and beverage industry has experienced varying levels of restrictions on when they could open for different services. As a result, staff left the industry and left employers scrambling to open their doors when allowed. Echino said she was concerned that she would have to fire people to move forward due to the lingering uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Jordan Sorrenti, owner of Paddy’s BBQ and Brewery in Calgary, said his business would not be affected as much as others that cater to late-night patrons, but its bottom line would be affected by people unwilling to risk to catch COVID.

“We just spent two months trying to fully staff our restaurants, and now we have to lay people off again and it’s just awful,” Sorrenti said.

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He said he would have liked the province to implement a proof of vaccination requirement for people to enter restaurants, making everyone inside to feel safer.

Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario have all launched similar initiatives and have seen the number of people registering for the vaccine increase.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce issued a statement on Friday in response to the latest provincial measures, calling for a similar requirement.

“Calgary businesses continue to tell us that a widely implemented vaccination certification will help keep employees, customers, customers and customers safe, and help prevent further blockages,” the report reads. communicated. “Vaccine certification will support consumer safety and confidence, while encouraging those who remain eligible but unvaccinated to step up to protect themselves and our community. “

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The chamber said the mask’s provincial mandate was a positive move by the government.

Kenney said on Friday he didn’t want to introduce the latest steps he took – including the introduction of a preloaded $ 100 debit card for anyone who receives their first or second dose of vaccine between September 3 and October 14 – but they were necessary to protect the health care system.

In the announcement, Health Minister Tyler Shandro thanked the industry for continuing to adapt to health measures.

“I would like to recognize our restaurant and hotel operators and entrepreneurs, who have pivoted several times during the pandemic and have demonstrated exceptional resilience,” said Shandro.

“We know this is disrupting your operations and we appreciate your willingness to continue to adapt in the interest of protecting your staff and customers. Unfortunately, we continue to see a high number of cases and low immunization coverage among young people and we must take this step to reduce the spread in order to protect our health system. “

Alberta Health Services President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said on Friday that 95% of the province’s critical care capacity was being used on Friday.

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