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Braid: Calgary and Brooks face later opening dates than the rest of the province for bars, restaurants, and hair salons

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Calgary restaurants, bars, hairdressers and hairdressers won’t be able to reopen until May 25, the government has decided

Author of the article:

Don Braid • • Calgary Herald

Release date:

May 13, 2020 • • May 13, 2020 • • Read for 2 minutes • • 46 comments The outdoor patio tables at Lulu Bar on May 17th in Calgary on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020. Calgary restaurants and bars will not be allowed to reopen on the original target date of May 14th. Photo by Gavin Young / Postmedia

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Calgary restaurants, bars, hairdressers and hairdressers won’t be able to reopen until May 25th, the provincial government has decided.

Same goes for Brooks, the only other area where COVID-19 outbreaks are severe enough to require delays after the original May 14th target.

The decisions were made on Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Cabinet Emergency Committee with the involvement of the Chief Health Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, met.

Premier Jason Kenney announced the rules on Wednesday afternoon, less than 12 hours before the target date.

In Calgary and Brooks, summer camps, summer schools, and personal post-secondary classes have also been postponed until June 1.

In the rest of the province, including Edmonton, all published categories for the first phase of the reopening can be done on Thursday.

Despite the delays in the restaurant and salon, Calgary is still allowed to have many of the openings that will take place elsewhere.

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The opening on Thursday is allowed for clothing, furniture and bookstores, including shopping malls.

Museums and art galleries can be opened, subject to physical distancing and capacity rules.

Day care centers and extracurricular care centers with occupancy restrictions may also be restarted on Thursday.

The government stressed that no company or institution is required to open on any of the target dates.

Over the past week, Kenney and Hinshaw have spoken publicly about “regional” approaches to addressing various levels of outbreak.

Edmonton has barely 15 percent of the cases and deaths in Calgary. Overall, the AHS Calgary Zone has 70 percent of the provincial cases.

The government has been concerned about how to deal with the medical and political discrepancy for weeks.

There were concerns about triggering hackers with different rules for the big cities.

But this is not hockey. The only rivalry is which city comes to zero first. And Calgary is a much more nervous city than Edmonton.

The downtown Calgary skyline is pictured on Monday, April 27, 2020. The downtown Calgary skyline is pictured on Monday, April 27, 2020. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /.Postmedia

Without a doubt, some Calgary business owners will be irritated by the delay. Restaurants and bars have increased hygiene measures and brought employees back to work on Thursday. You have stocked up on perishable foods that may be wasted.

But many Calgary restaurant owners wouldn’t open immediately anyway because of hygiene requirements, the inability to make money at half capacity, staff health concerns – and everyone’s greatest fear of being closed for another outbreak.

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Barbers and hairdressers had even deeper concerns because they couldn’t do their job without actually touching customers. There is obviously no way to cut hair from two meters away.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has repeatedly urged the government not to rush Calgary’s opening, noting that May 14 has always been cited as a target rather than a certainty.

“I’ve never heard of a single business owner tell me, ‘I want to open up the consequences again and damn it,” he said when the targets were released.

The government has been criticized for pushing the decision directly against Thursday’s target.

However, they are subject to the latest AHS risk calculations: how many new cases are there, has COVID-19 leveled off, how many beds are available in the intensive care unit?

Hinshaw insists on the latest data before giving a recommendation to the cabinet.

One of their fears right now is certainly not that Calgary will be restricted a bit, but that the rest of Alberta will start opening up too soon.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

dbraid@postmedia.com

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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