Restaurants, pubs, hair salons and barbershops in Calgary and Brooks permitted to reopen May 25th
CALGARY -- With no major COVID-19 outbreaks over the last 11 days, the province will permit restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, hair salons and barbershops to reopen May 25 in Calgary and Brooks as part of phase one of the economic relaunch, Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday.
Bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes offering table service will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.
Calgary and Brooks accounted for 85 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the province when the decision was made last week to resume dine-in service at restaurants and reopen hair salons and barbershops in Alberta, except for the two cities.
Day camps and post-secondary institutions will also be permitted to resume operating on June 1, with limits on capacity.
Albertans are still asked to remains at least two metres away from other people when in public.
The announcement comes more than a week after the province resumed dine-in service at restaurants and reopened hair salons and barber shops in all locations except the two cities with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases.
"Thanks to the vigilance of Albertans, we are winning the fight against COVID-19," said Kenney. "We have the lowest level of hospitalizations, the lowest level of ICU admissions and the lowest level of deaths per capita amongst the large Canadian provinces and we are far, far bleow the level experienced throughout most of the developed world."
Kenney said the province won't make masks mandatory in public as policing that would be nearly impossible. Instead the province "stongly encourages" people to wear one when maintaining a distance of at least two metres from other people isn't possible, like when you are on public transit.
The province has ordered 40 million non-surgical masks, half of which arrived in Edmonton on Thursday evening. The other half is expected to arrrive in the coming days. Kenney said the province will announce a distribution program for the masks, which will be given to non-profits, community organizations and charities.
Higher Ground Cafe in Kensington was ready to relaunch for dine-in service last week after recalling staff and ordering food and ingredients. The owners then learned with little notice that May 25th would be the earliest they could welcome customers back inside.
"It's redoing the schedule, reordering the product. It's re-baking the products," explained John Nicastro. "So a lot of it is you're juggling a lot of things at once."
"We're hopeful that we get to open the 25th, but again we understand their perspective for the delay."
Nicastro says the last 10 days have been difficult.
"The on/off switch all the time. It's been difficult, you prepare, you order a bunch of products. We bake all our stuff in house, milk has expiry dates, and you’re trying to consume."
The cafe has added plexiglass barriers around its service counter, spaced out tables two metres apart and hired a sanitizing company to clean the entire building once a week.