CFIB calls on UCP government to improve supports in face of new restrictions
Alberta's new COVID-19 restrictions, in particular its exemption program, are leaving small businesses struggling to find answers to hundreds of questions, says one advocacy group.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says while the Kenney government's efforts are in the right direction to avoid a crushing lockdown, it is also bringing along new costs and staffing challenges to businesses.
"In other provinces with a proof of vaccination program, CFIB has received hundreds of calls expressing concerns and questions, from how to implement such programs, to what supports are available to train staff and what their legal liability is," said Annie Dormuth, the group's Alberta provincial affairs director in a statement.
Some of those concerns include:
- What things can be done to protect staff who are forced to refuse entry to unvaccinated individuals?
- If clients of weddings and other events are unvaccinated, do venues need to provide refunds?
- What happens if a customer provides fraudulent documentation?
The CFIB says a majority of business owners are seeking additional guidance from the government, including guarantees to avoid legal action.
To help address those issues, the group is seeking financial support to help owners who are struggling with increased costs and lost customers, guarantees that they won't have to deal with new restrictions and signage to help customers understand the rules on vaccine passports.
The CFIB also wants the government to understand that businesses will do their best, but will not be liable if a customer presents a fake document to gain entry.
"Let’s not forget businesses that will check vaccine credentials are also among the hardest hit by 18 months of closures and restrictions, such as restaurants, fitness facilities and event venues," Dormuth said.
"Many are still not back to full capacity, they are carrying massive levels of debt, facing historic labour shortages and navigating the health and safety of their employees and customers."