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Shupenia’s biggest concern is stopping liquor sales at 10 p.m. because he said many patrons will congregate outside and then continue drinking at private homes, potentially spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
He said he saw it happen frequently prior to the partial lockdown in Alberta.
“At two in the morning, people are going home. They’re done and if they decide to have another cocktail, they usually go with the same table,” said Shupenia.
“But when 10 o’clock hits and you have 15 tables that don’t know each other all stand up and go outside, and one person mentions they are going back to their house — now you have five or six tables, that don’t even know each other, go back together.”
His fear is positive cases among those groups will trace back to his establishment and mark them as a hot-spot destination for the virus, despite following all public health protocols and ensuring safety among guests.
“Eventually, the only path I see, is another lockdown and it will be blamed on us,” he said.
Shupenia is also worried about his industry colleagues who rely on VLTs. He expects many businesses will be forced to shutter without being able to operate them.
Brett Marshall, owner of CrossFit Calgary, said he has “mixed feelings” about the province’s most recent announcement. He’s grateful for some business getting back to work but said it wasn’t the news he was hoping for.
“I’m not going to get too worked up, because it seems like they are flip-flopping all the time, but the latest news, for me, was the worst news we’ve heard since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Marshall.