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Restaurant, bar and bar operators have worked hard to follow the government’s guidelines for protecting their patrons, Alberta Health spokeswoman Zoe Cooper said in a statement.
“The measures announced are temporary and are designed to keep businesses open,” he said.
However, individual companies may decide to take additional measures if they think it is in their best interest. Many restaurants across the province have tightened or temporarily shut down measures for that reason, Cooper said.
Approximately one percent of Alberta’s COVID-19 cases are associated with restaurant settings, although a significant percentage of infections have no known source. Of the cases identified between 10 and 16 November, 89 per cent were from unknown sources.
Nicola Trolez, marketing director for 17th Avenue at The Ship and Anchor, said they have begun taking in contact information from guests to help track contacts and plan to close their doors on specific days that can attract people, such as New Year’s Day.
“Our goal is to continue to be a place where people can come and know that we are careful. We know that we offer a vital community to many and we hope to continue to offer it if people choose to take to the streets,” Trolez said.
The government has said it needs to find a better solution soon because staying closer to the holidays will be disastrous for local businesses.
Chris Fodor, owner and winemaker of the City and Country Urban Winery in the southeast, has closed his tasting room.
He and his wife started the business in February before the pandemic spread to Alberta. Part of his business plan was to sell more wine to local restaurants, but they didn’t buy it because they didn’t buy it.
The small restrictions introduced last week are frustrating.
“It seems like no one is ready to take any action. The next thing you’ll know, Christmas is coming to us. Is it when they finally do something? Or is it ER when it’s overflowing,” Fodor said.
– With files by Brodie Thomas