Alberta hospitality workers call for COVID-19 vaccine priority
EDMONTON -- Two Alberta hospitality associations are calling on the provincial government to include restaurant workers in Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout.
A letter from the Alberta Hospitality Association Board of Directors states 100,000 Albertans are working in the province's hospitality sector and "have constant contact with high volumes of different people on a daily basis."
It argues since hospitality workers play "a vital role" in Alberta's social and economic recovery, they should be considered essential workers with early access to vaccines.
A group representing dozens of independent restaurants in Edmonton is also advocating for vaccine priority.
"With this type of industry, we're working closely with customers that have their masks off," said Kim Der with the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Association. "It would really help the small hospitality businesses and it'll protect us. It'll make us feel safe."
One server tells CTV News Edmonton giving hospitality staff priority wouldn't only benefit workers.
"I think it'll help keep everybody safe," said Caley Suliak. "If I don't pick it up from this table, then pass it on to this table. Because essentially a server is a middleman, right?"
Currently, Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout is broken into four different groups and includes residents born between 1947 and 1971, Albertans with high-risk underlying health conditions, healthcare workers like physicians and dentists, and workers in settings at risk of large outbreaks like meatpacking plants and correctional facilities.