Varcoe: Small businesses press province to partially reopen — while one business does just that

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A passerby looks through the window of the True You Salon & Spa in Midnapore on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

In Lethbridge, Woods pointed out the two booths in his shop are more than six metres apart and the business has carefully been following strict cleaning protocols. He noted schools are open this week, airline flights continue with travellers sitting in close proximity, and shopping centres are conducting business.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we caught all the MLAs going on trips,” he added.

“In this ocean of a storm, I’m sure we are all in this together — except they are in the yacht, and we’re in a canoe.”

In Calgary, Adam Spence of True You Salon & Spa had also contemplated opening this week, but decided the business didn’t want to face fines or put its employees in the position of working illegally.

“We are going to respect all restrictions, and open for retail and hope for the best,” he said. “Next week might be a different story. The bills are adding up.”

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce issued a statement on Monday, calling on the provincial government to look for ways to reopen closed businesses.

While the group supports the province acting on the advice of the chief medical officer, many businesses have been closed for months and it’s not a sustainable situation for affected employers or employees, said chamber CEO Ken Kobly.

He noted the province worked with registered massage therapists to let them resume operations under certain guidelines and hopes a similar solution can be found for operators of fitness centres, salons, spas and other affected firms.

“If the restrictions continue on, (the province) has to see if there’s some sort of a limited opening they can offer these types of businesses,” Kobly added.

“You will have a substantial proportion of those businesses that will not reopen if this carries on.”

Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.

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