Calgary cafe owner cites 'inconsistent' messaging after another pandemic violation
CALGARY -- The owner of a Mission cafe is upset with Alberta Health Services after being issued a COVID-19-related health order this week.
Paul Overholt, who owns Purple Perk on 4 street S.W., tells CTV News he’s having a tough time staying on top of “confusing” provincial guidelines.
“The rules are changing on a daily basis almost, and it’s been a struggle to try to keep up with the changes,” he said. “It’s pretty much impossible.“
Purple Perk has had AHS-ordered violations throughout the pandemic.
The latest is an Order of an Executive Officer to fix the cafe’s seating arrangement or face penalties.
The order says the inspector found “dining tables on the outdoor patio and inside the dining room“ that were less than 2 meters apart. It also says Purple Perk’s “patrons were seated directly back-to-back and side-by-side on the patio and inside the dining room.”
AHS ordered the establishment to close both dine-in services and outdoor seating in early May.
Since then, it has received other violations from the health authority for a variety of reasons. Online information says the cafe had staff delivering food without a mask, did not have any COVID-19-related signs, had uncovered food next to the checkout and had staff using bleach with the incorrect dilution, among other violations.
Overholt said he has since fixed the issues and has “assigned seating” inside and out to comply with Wednesday’s order.
“We’re not here to discount or be controversial or to go against what’s going on,” he said. “It’s just the message that’s being told is inconsistent.”
Overholt points to other spaces in Alberta, like schools and concert halls, that he believes have more leeway than bars, restaurants and cafes.
“You’re allowed to have 50 people at a gathering...but I can’t have 15 people in my shop?”
Purple Perk is a small space that Overholt says has lost more than half of its business since the pandemic. He believes being forced to limit capacity even more is unfair.
”We’re just trying to be an island of normalcy in this sea of hysteria,” he said.
CTV News reached out to AHS to learn more about the specific case and has yet to hear back.
It is currently unclear how many warnings and violations establishment are allowed before being issued an order or a closing notice.