Hospitality workers upset after being left behind in wave one of provincial reopening
CALGARY -- As some businesses celebrate after news of lessened provincial health restrictions, others are questioning why they’ve been left behind.
As of Monday, personal wellness services like salons and barbershops, tattoo shops, and manicure and pedicure businesses will be allowed to take customers by appointment only.
But as Albertans look forward to their next haircut, their next pint and burger in a bar could still be a long way off.
Dine-in services were not included on the reopening list.
“It doesn’t seem balanced and fair,” Brett Ireland with Last Best Brewing told CTV News. “We need government to communicate to the industry and to Albertans what the plan is.”
The province has promised notice a week before it’s time for bars and restaurants to open, but that likely won’t happen until the full impact of the latest rollback can be studied.
(Trolley 5 on 17th Avenue in Calgary)
Ireland says himself and many of his colleagues are frustrated because their future is up in the air.
“We all are looking towards this oasis of normalcy ahead of us at some point,” he said. “But we need to know what the steps are to get there...even if we don’t know the timelines.”
Health Minister Tyler Shandro has, in the past, promised the reopen would be done in stages.
Thursday, while announcing the first wave, he briefly touched on what comes next.
“If we continue to see case rates and hospitalizations and our ICU admissions continue to slow down and go down, we will continue to open things up,” Shandro said. “It's that simple. We need everyone's cooperation to stay within the rules.”
Dr. Christopher Mody with the University of Calgary’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases believes the government did the right thing.
“I’m approving of the cautious nature because the next week or two is going to be very telling,” Mody said. “It wouldn’t take much for this virus to escalate up and in another month, we’re back where we were in December.”
But according to the head of The Alberta Hospitality Association, many business openers can’t wait any longer.
Ernie Tsu, who owns Trolley 5 on 17th Avenue, says some bars and restaurants may choose to defy public health orders and open their doors in the coming days.
Last Best won’t be one of those rule breakers, but Ireland says it speaks to the direness of the situation.
While he waits to reopen, he says he’s already dreaming of opening for dine-in and rehiring his team.
“I’ll have a beer for sure,” he said. “At least one. That’ll be a good day.”