New 'wild west' restrictions confusing, Alberta business owners say
CALGARY -- They’ve been retooled and slightly altered after they were first announced, so it should come as no surprise that Alberta business owners say COVID-19 related health rules have them scratching their heads.
The provincial restrictions, first announced ten days ago, put new measures in place that impact restaurants, bars and fitness studios, among other places, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But there seems to be confusion almost across the board about what is and isn’t allowed.
A gym manager in northeast Calgary says he received a voicemail from Alberta Health Services (AHS) telling him one-on-one lessons were permitted.
So Jason Bryant says he was shocked when three inspectors and three police officers showed up to Arashi Do Martial Arts on Friday and threatened to close him down.
“I get it if people aren’t being compliance,” Bryant said. “But we are.”
Bryant said Alberta’s new rules make the province the “wild, wild west.”
“The information we are getting is muddy,” he said. “It changes every day and we’re trying to keep up. (But) this is all new information to us.“
Bryant is convinced the voicemail kept his business doors open, but he may be stopping those one-on-one lessons, afraid of penalization.
Across the city at National on 17th, inspecting AHS officials also give the restaurant a unique experience.
“We used to see AHS probably every two or three days,” Tabitha Tumback told CTV News. “They keep a pretty close eye on us.”
Tumback believes the busy restaurant is treated differently than other businesses in the province.
“I have my suspicions that the AHS visits in restaurants in the suburbs are a little more easy going than the ones that patrol 10th Avenue and 17th Avenue,” she said.
Her’s is a common sentiment.
Many bars, restaurants and gyms say the provincial guidelines — and how they’ll be implemented from place to place — aren’t clear enough.
“It’s tough because the rules we get from from AHS don’t always match up what we see online,” Tumback said.
AHS has forced hundreds of businesses to pay fines or even temporarily close for infractions.
CTV News reached out to the body for comment on this story. The request went unanswered.