Some Calgary bars and restaurants seeing fewer customers as COVID-19 cases rise
CALGARY -- Some bars and restaurants in Calgary say business took a dive over the last week, and they believe it could be chalked up to fear over growing COVID-19 case numbers.
Businesses along Stephen Avenue say they’ve seen traffic dip this week, and Metropolitan general manager Tiago Oliveira believes it’s because people are afraid.
“Last week was not the best," Oliveira told CTV News. “Some of our neighbours (along Stephen Avenue) shut down, and so I was thinking we were going to be busy. But no, people are worried to come to downtown for dine-in.”
Oliveira says sales at the Metropolitan dropped up to 50 per cent.
“Thursday ... we slowed down, and Thursdays are usually very good,” he said. “Then Friday was slow and Saturday was slow, (even though) it was good weather.”
The change comes as Alberta is seeing virus numbers trend in the wrong direction; officials have reported more than 100 cases in seven of the last eight days. A large chunk of that spread is among young people.
Craig Jenne, who works in the University of Calgary’s department of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases, says the statistics don’t surprise him.
“I think this is exactly what we were predicting,” Jenne said. “Across Canada, we have lost a number of individuals who are under 30 or under 20, so we have to be careful.”
Many experts believe the rise in transmission is due to careless behaviour while socializing.
Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, has even warned young people that they should not feel invincible.
Jenne believes lowered sales in the service industry are just the start of a rebound.
“We have to keep in mind that’s it not just density, it’s people following the rules,” he said. “We do tend to see physical separation break down in those environments, and unfortunately the virus is merciless. The really tough part with this is it can take more than two weeks to see a measurable impact in the community, so it’s very frustrating to try to communicate to people that, ‘trust me, the thing you were doing today will pay off in two or three weeks.’”
As of Wednesday, 563 of the province’s active cases were in those aged 20 to 40-years-old.
To date, 55 people in that demographic have spent time in hospital due to the virus.