Alberta opens more shops in Calgary, Brooks amid COVID-19 recovery relaunch

Alberta opens more shops in Calgary, Brooks amid COVID-19 recovery relaunch

CALGARY — Restaurants, barber shops and hair salons in Calgary and Brooks now have the official go-ahead to reopen their doors on Monday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says declining COVID-19 case trends in those two cities, which had experienced the highest levels of infections in the province, make the reopening safe.

Such shops were allowed to reopen last week everywhere else in Alberta.

“While this is positive news for many, it doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods yet,” Kenney said Friday. “COVID-19 still poses a very real risk and we must all continue to act responsibly and look out for one another.

So far, 134 people have died in the province from the virus.

“That number is still likely to rise over the weeks to come,” Kenney said.

Retailers including book, clothing and furniture stores, along with daycares and farmers markets were allowed to open up across the province last week.

Restaurants can only open at half capacity and outdoor public gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people.

Kenney said if the case numbers continue to stay flat or decline, Alberta will proceed with the next phase of its relaunch on June 19.

At that time movie theatres, spas, and other specialized personal care services could be allowed to reopen.

As of Friday, Alberta had reported 865 active cases, with 54 people in hospital, and its per capita testing rates remain among the highest in the world. About 228,000 tests have been completed.

The province has begun resuming non-urgent surgeries. And Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that starting next week it will be expanded to operations that require overnight stays, such as heart procedures and joint replacements.

“Albertans who have been waiting the longest will get their surgery first,” said Shandro.

The restrictions on Calgary and Brooks last week came with controversy. Hair shop and restaurant owners in those cities, some who stocked up to prepare for reopening, were given 18-hours notice that they would have to stay closed.

Kenney promised that longer notice would be given in the future.

The Opposition NDP renewed a call for Kenney’s United Conservative government to reimburse Brooks and Calgary businesses which lost money due to the delayed reopening.

“(Kenney) cost them money by pulling the rug out from under them last week and refuses to take responsibility,” Joe Ceci, the municipal affairs critic, said in a statement.

“Business owners lost money on preparing to reopen — including restaurants that saw their inventory spoil. We’ve heard from restaurant owners they’ve lost on average $10,000.

“They need to be reimbursed after Jason Kenney blindsided them.”

Asked by reporters if he would reimburse the owners, Kenney declined to answer directly but noted his government has put in incentives, reductions and deferrals to help all businesses.

“Obviously, we regret that some restaurants had purchased inventory two weeks back and were understandably disappointed with the decision that was taken to delay sit-in service,” said Kenney.

“I would point out that we have allowed take-out service and we did permit restaurants to do liquor off-sales, which has helped some of them to liquidate their liquor inventories and bring some cash in.”

— By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2020

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Town of Castor to open tenders to replace garbage truck

Council decided to purchase a used rear load garbage truck to replace the existing the one

Gov’t of Alberta confirms 29 new COVID-19 cases

Of the total 6,955 confirmed cases, 652 are active

Town council moves to re-open community playgrounds

Highlights from the Town council meeting of May 25th

Stettler area brothers put creative skills towards superb causes

Clay and Porter Kneeland are constructing hydro-dipped birdhouses

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Aimia vows to fight Air Canada’s court move to halt upcoming merger

Aimia vows to fight Air Canada’s court move to halt upcoming merger

Huawei’s ambitions for Canada stalled by rift with China, security expert says

Huawei’s ambitions for Canada stalled by rift with China, security expert says

Oilpatch advocates tell MPs help needs to be faster, easier to get

Oilpatch advocates tell MPs help needs to be faster, easier to get

Canada’s vulnerable to money laundering on par with similar countries: expert

Canada’s vulnerable to money laundering on par with similar countries: expert

Toronto stock market dips on weakness in the energy and financials sectors

Toronto stock market dips on weakness in the energy and financials sectors

Kelowna, B.C., man charged with murder in Alberta killing

A second man is also wanted in connection with the first degree murder of Cody Michaloski

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Trump preparing order targeting social media protections

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”

Most Read