Some Calgary gym and restaurant owners are pushing against new public health restrictions and vowing to keep their doors open to customers.
Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that the province would revert to Step 1 restrictions to slow the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus. The restrictions apply to restaurants, gyms, and libraries.
Sweat Science, a Calgary-based boxing hall, publicly announced that it will continue with classes.
Owner Dustin Sutley believes other gym owners will do the same.
He said they remain open to the mental health of their community in a press release to the media.
Emily Slaneff of the Alberta Coalition, the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, believes gyms like Sweat Science are in the minority.
“I don’t think that’s entirely fair. I don’t want the entire industry to be portrayed in a negative light.”
Variant cases increase
As COVID-19 cases are increasing – variant cases now make up more than 44.8 percent Dr. Deena Hinshaw appealed to the Albertans to observe new restrictions.
At a news conference on Thursday, Hinshaw said business owners flaunting the new restrictions put the entire community at risk.
“What I would say to people planning to oppose public health regulations, I would ask them to consider our current situation,” Hinshaw said, adding that there is a tiered enforcement policy for those who do Oppose orders.
“I would urge people again to look at the evidence and review what happened in other countries when COVID-19 and variants in particular got out of control and remember that if we wait, we must act now Until we act Our intensive care units are overcrowded, it will be far too late. “
Kevin Young, owner of Benny’s Breakfast Bar, says it comes down to a decision: close for good or continue despite new restrictions. (Helen Pike / CBC)
It’s not that easy for the owner of Benny’s Breakfast Bar in southeast Calgary. Kevin Young said he plans to stay open, but it won’t be an easy decision.
“It’s a double-edged sword because if we stay open we’ll defy, and if I close I don’t know if I can actually afford to open up again,” said Young.
Young said he followed all of AHS guidelines for the past year, including spending on plexiglass partitions, PPE, and specialty cleaning chemicals.
“It has come to this line that I have nothing more to give and I have to take a stand,” he said.
“There are naysayers … but it is none of their business, they have not lost their livelihood, and my employees are suffering financially too.”
Young says if all retailers, including big box stores like Walmart, were told to drive on the side of the road, he would be ready to re-evaluate.
“Give me some data that makes sense, and not just forcing the restaurant industry to shut down because we’re the easiest to attack and the easiest to shut down,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”