‘Embedded in the abstract world:’ 13 Alberta establishments hit with suspensions, closure orders for disobeying COVID-19 rules

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Thirteen Alberta establishments have received 18 suspensions or closure orders for failing to comply with the province’s COVID-19 Restrictions Waiver Program, they must acknowledge that “they are not fighting for a common good,” emphasizes an expert in health policies and laws. Edmonton.


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According to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) list of execution orders , one facility in the Edmonton area, nine in the North area and three in the Calgary area have been issued food permit suspensions or closure orders not to screen customers for proof of vaccination or proof of COVID-19 negative in the last 72 hours.

On permit suspensions or closure orders, establishments also offered customers indoor dining when they shouldn’t have, and in some cases, staff didn’t wear masks.

There have been no execution orders in the Central or South zones.

Those who don’t adhere to public health orders are likely to hear misinformation on two fronts, said Timothy Caulfield, a professor at the University of Alberta and Canada’s research professor in health law and policy.


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The first is misinformation about the vaccines themselves, as they are not as effective as described, and misinformation about breakthroughs, natural immunity, and risks and side effects.

“All of that, I think, is fueling this, let’s call it corporate hesitancy or hesitancy, of some of these companies,” Caulfield said.

There is also misinformation involving the law and rights, and some companies suggest that they have the right to circumvent the vaccine passport or that the passport infringes on their rights.

“The interesting thing about that is that this language of rights has received a lot of attention. I think it’s very seductive, because it makes their position seem fair and brave, that they are fighting for a higher good, ”Caulfield said.


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“I think it is a really harmful form of misinformation because, number one, they are not fighting for the greater good. On the contrary, they are harming their community and, second, they are misrepresenting the nature of the law. “

Being able to change someone’s opinion on the subject would be difficult, Caulfield said, but that doesn’t mean education shouldn’t be attempted.

“People are putting their business, their income, at risk to support a narrative that is not supported by science or legal standards,” he said. “It shows the degree to which they are integrated into the abstract world.”

Complaint-Driven Investigations

AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said in a statement that investigations into noncompliance are driven by complaints and that education is always the first step.


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“It is only when significant risk is identified or continued noncompliance is observed that AHS resorts to enforcement actions,” he said.

AHS and its enforcement partners, which include RCMP and municipal law enforcement, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), Alberta Labor, Alberta Justice, and municipalities, use a framework based on increasing measures to support compliance.

“The type of enforcement action depends on a number of factors, including the type of establishment, operation or event, the circumstances, and whether there is a history of default,” Williamson said.

“Continued non-compliance may result in food permit suspension, an Environmental Public Health shutdown order, litigation, or a referral / collaboration with other compliance partners.”


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Williamson added that AHS has been working tirelessly for more than 19 months and “the demands on the team have grown significantly.”

As of October 26, the team has responded to and resolved more than 100,000 COVID-19-related complaints and service requests across the province, since the start of the pandemic.

“This volume of requests is unprecedented for the Safe Healthy Environments team. In a typical year, the team responds to approximately 10,000 complaints / service requests. “

But Williamson said that, in general, the vast majority of companies, operators, events and individuals comply with public health orders and restrictions.

“Our teams can resolve most concerns (about 97 percent) through conversation or initial education,” he said.


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“Only a small minority of concerns rise to warning letters, Executive Officer Orders or suspension of permits. For example, a total of 280 Executive Officer Orders related to COVID-19 have been issued since the pandemic began. “

No victory result

Marketing experts agree that by not following public health regulations, businesses could be adversely affected.

“There is no sustainability, isolate and put your business first before the community and your customers, there is no winning result there,” said David Finch, professor of marketing at Mount Royal University.

“There are some that hold their own and fast, but those places won’t be in business for long because the market is not big enough to hold the strip and this is really strip-exclusive marketing.”


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Heather Thomson, executive director of the University of Alberta School of Retail, echoed Finch’s comments, adding that companies could lose the trust of customers.

“As a consumer and sponsor of a business, you want to make sure they are following the rules, whether they are part of the waiver program or not. You feel more secure with the integrity and quality of that business, ”he said.

“So, in addition to potentially having fines or permits waived, you could lose long-term business during the pandemic if your consumer doesn’t appreciate the fact that you didn’t follow protocols.”

Caulfield also emphasized that those who do not comply are a minority.

“We often talk about how polarized the discussion is, but most Canadians support these policies and understand why they are necessary.”

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