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Restaurant, bar and pub operators have worked hard to follow the guidance the government has given to protect their patrons, Zoe Cooper, spokeswoman for Alberta Health, said in a statement.
“Announced measures are temporary and designed to help businesses to stay open,” she said.
However, individual businesses can opt to take additional action if they feel it’s in their best interest. Many restaurants across the province have introduced their own stricter measures or temporarily closed for this reason, Cooper said.
Approximately one per cent of Alberta’s COVID-19 cases have been linked to restaurant settings, though a significant per cent of infections have no known source. Of the cases identified between Nov. 10 and 16, 89 per cent were from unknown sources.
Nicola Trolez, marketing manager for The Ship and Anchor on 17th Avenue, said they have started taking contact information from guests to assist with contact tracing and plan to close their doors on specific days that could draw a crowd, such as New Year’s Day.
“Our objective is to remain a place that people can come and know we’re being extremely careful. We know we provide essential community to many and we hope we can continue to provide that should people choose to go out,” Trolez said.
She said the government needs to find a better solution soon, because a lockdown any closer to the holidays will be disastrous for local business.
Chris Fodor, co-owner and winemaker at City and Country Urban Winery in the southeast, has closed his tasting room.
He and his wife launched the business just before the pandemic spread to Alberta in February. Part of his business plan was to sell more wine to local restaurants, which didn’t pan out because they aren’t buying.
He is frustrated by the minor restrictions introduced last week.
“It seems like nobody is willing to take any sort of action. The next thing you know, Christmas is going to be upon us. Is that when they’re finally going to do something? Or is it when the ER is overflowing,” said Fodor.
— With files from Brodie Thomas