CALGARY -- A trip to Cash Casino in southeast Calgary now starts with a temperature check at the front door and an offer of a mask and hand sanitizer.

Plastic curtains are used to separate the video lottery terminals (VLTs) and all of the table games are unstaffed and unable to open during Stage 2 of Alberta’s relaunch.

“It’s been a long few months,” said Jamil Ali, one of the owners of Cash Casino in Calgary and Red Deer.

 “It’s nice to have the doors open again for our customers and our amazing employees.”

Casinos, bingo halls, recreation centres, gyms and businesses offering personal services — including pedicures, manicures, massages and tanning — are now able to open across the province. Two metres of physical distancing is enforced and health officials encourage the use of masks.

Jessica Lapuz, who owns Outlash Beauty Bar in the southwest, said all of their days are fully booked through next week with people wanting their lashes done.

“Our site actually was crashing yesterday because people were trying to get on there and book online. We wouldn’t take any phone calls because you answer one phone call and they leave a message and then... by the time you get back, that spot is taken,” Lapuz said.

Boutique gyms reopen

Many small boutique gyms opened on day one of the relaunch, but larger centres like GoodLife and the YMCA decided to remain closed for now.

Most of the bingo halls and casinos in Calgary opted to keep their doors closed for longer, opting to take extra time to re-hire staff, obtain personal protective equipment and clean the facilities.

Ali said people showed up at the casino right at 9:30 Friday morning for its opening and it’s been steady since then.

“It’s more (people) than usual, for sure. It’s busier than what we anticipated it to be,” Ali said.

As of Friday, restaurants and bars no longer have to limit capacity to 50 per cent, though distancing measures are still in place. Gatherings can now also be larger, with indoor events now capped at 50 people and outdoor gatherings limited to 100 people.