Lethbridge Businesses React to Alberta’s COVID-19 Restriction Waiver Program – Lethbridge | The Canadian News

“I can’t believe we’re doing this again,” Angel Harper said Thursday morning.

Harper is the co-owner and operator of Mocha Cabana Bistro, a restaurant in Lethbridge.

She said new public health measures and the restriction waiver program announced by the Alberta government on Wednesday have left her feeling a wave of emotions as the province tries to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We are going to have vaccine passports and we are going to put more restrictions (in place) when (the provincial government) has said that we are open and we are not going to do vaccine passports,” Harper said. with tears starting to fill her eyes. “And then we get a four-day notice for more restrictions and vaccine passports – that’s not enough time for companies to change.”

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Prime Minister Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Dr. Deena Deena Hinshaw’s Medical Director, and Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu held a press conference Wednesday to announce the new rules. . Some of the announced public health measures went into effect on Thursday, while others, including the restriction waiver program, will go into effect on Monday.

Unlike other provinces that have adopted a vaccine passport, the restriction waiver program is voluntary for non-essential businesses. If proof of vaccination is required, no restrictions will apply. Otherwise, the restrictions will be maintained. If someone is not vaccinated, they can provide a privately paid negative or rapid negative COVID-19 test result acquired within the last 72 hours. These tests typically cost between $ 20 and $ 40. Test results from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories will not be allowed.

A clarification from Steve Buick, a spokesman for Shandro’s office, said the restrictions do not apply to companies that follow exemption requirements, other than masking. The 10 p.m. liquor service limit will apply longer, but masking will.

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“It should be about doing the right thing for your neighbor, or the old lady across the street, or the person you’ve never met in your life but is a carrier and walked into a room and made someone sick. “Said Kieth Carlson, owner and operator of Roy’s Place, a restaurant in Claresholm.

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Carlson has spoken on social media about the need for a proof of vaccination program.

“Now it becomes a responsibility of our customers to bring a piece of paper that says that, in theory, they can enter a restaurant that the government has half the mandate and the other half of the obligation to enter,” he said. .

Both restaurants will participate in the program and will require proof of vaccination, but they are concerned about the young staff working for them who will be forced to enforce the law.

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“Arguing customers refuse to wear masks at the door, and frankly kids just don’t need this stress,” Harper said. “We just want to serve you food and create a great guest experience.”

Carlson said he will work on the Roy’s Place gate when the changes go into effect.

“Visiting people and making sure there is an educational factor that goes with it,” he said. “Hopefully, we can change their thought patterns in some way, shape or form so that they don’t yell at a 15, 16 or 17 year old who is just trying to do their job.”

In a recent Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce poll, of 460 business owners and managers who responded, 81 percent said they are against proof of vaccination requirements.

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“There is that frustration, but how do we make it work and that was the point of the survey?” said Cyndi Vos, executive director of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. “What can we put into practice?”

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Vos said they plan to have a response for companies on Monday when the new program takes effect. She hopes for a win-win situation.

“We need public and private companies to be successful. We need our community to be successful. We need our health care system to be successful. And having that attitude, ‘Well, it’s up to you,’ is a challenging attitude for us to navigate, ”he said.

In the end, you, Harper, and Carlson ask the same customers.

“The staff are tired, the businesses are tired, you are tired,” said Vos. “Be patient.”

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