It’s ‘business as usual’ for Alberta workers approaching more closures

CALGARY — It’s a familiar story for many Alberta businesses as they count down the hours until they’re forced to close once again.

Last week, the province announced new restrictions that should help combat out-of-control COVID-19 spread.

The new rules have already kicked in for schools, retail shops and places of worship in some Alberta regions.

At 11:59 p.m. Sunday night, those area closures will impact personal and wellness services and bars and restaurants, forcing them to shutter for the next three weeks.

Sunday’s weather wasn’t cooperating to help the latter enjoy a final day of sales before closing patio dining.

READ MORE: New Alberta COVID-19 restrictions to move schools online, close patios and limit outdoor gatherings

Brown’s Social House owner Chad McCormick says it’s been a whirlwind few weeks.

“It’s tough (for) staffing and retraining and everybody (on the staff) that doesn’t come back,” he told CTV News. “Is it a week? Three weeks? Two months? How long is it? We don’t know these things.

“You sit there with bills that have to get paid still and sales that aren’t there to pay them.”

McCormick’s frustration was being felt across his industry over the weekend.

While many are successfully pivoting back to pick-up and delivery, the lack of all-important alcohol sales and delivery surcharges have really hurt some venues.

Success without in-person dining is measured in a different way.

“It’s still just a very small fraction of what we’d normally sell,” McCormick said. “This right now is, unfortunately, business as usual.”

Salons and barbershops weren’t impacted by the weekend weather, which meant big sales for many as they prepped to turn off the lights.

But the absence of another way to deliver that service means stylists are also crossing their fingers for a short slowdown.

According to one expert, it could take a while.

“We’ve done this before and we know that there’s a lag,” Dr. Gabriel Fabreau said. “So with the implementation of restrictions, we can expect 10-14 days before we see the impact.”

With vaccination appointments opening to all Albertans over the age of 12 Monday, Fabreau believes we could see improvements soon.

But he believes this slowdown will still be needed beyond the expected three weeks.

He’d like to see mobile hot spot vaccinations for vulnerable populations — something he thinks would make an almost-immediate impact on COVID-19 case numbers.

“The pandemic has humbled us continuously,” he said. “One of the things that we’ve learned is that we have to continuously adapt.” 

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