Indefinite timeline for Alberta restrictions leaving some businesses in a state of limbo
Alberta's chief medical officer of health says the province's healthcare system is still under significant strain. During Thursday's public briefing, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that burden must be eased as quickly as possible.
That means current restrictions have been renewed with no end in sight, leaving many Alberta businesses to wonder when their operations can return to normal.
Café Amoré Bistro has been operating in Edmonton since 2011.
Up until last year, the family-owned business' main source of income came from customers enjoying the dine-in experience.
But the Italian restaurant's co-owner, Melissa Crudo, says recently that main income source has switched to takeout and delivery.
"We all have been wearing so many different hats trying to make it work, and keeping our dreams alive," Crudo told CTV News Edmonton.
The pivot from dine-in to takeout spawned from necessity after the province declared a public health emergency in mid-December, shutting down the eat-in restaurant option across Alberta.
Crudo is hopeful her dining room can open to patrons again soon, getting the restrictions reprieve that businesses like hair salons received earlier this week.
"We didn’t open a takeout restaurant," said Crudo. "We’re in customer service."
In an interview earlier this week, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told a Calgary radio station that his government hopes to continue to ease restrictions in the province.
"We hope to proceed with gradual relaxation of these restrictions, as we did earlier this week," Kenney told RED 106.7 FM.
As recently as Jan. 11, the Government of Alberta website said business owners would get a one week heads up before restrictions were changed, but that wording is now gone.
During the interview, Kenney also said his government is waiting to see what impact sending kids back to school will have on case numbers, adding that he also has concerns over the new, more infectious COVID-19 variants.
"We cannot afford taking the risk of opening everything wide open right now, in the middle of winter when everybody’s indoors," said Kenney.
Perhaps not much consolation for Crudo… or gym owners like Shara Vigeant.
"I don’t think I’m alone in this when I say I don’t know how much more debt I can take on to sit and wait," the SVPT Fitness and Athletics' owner told CTV News Edmonton.
Right now Vigeant is in New Mexico training a mixed martial arts fighter in order to pay her bills in Edmonton.
The gym owner even caught COVID-19 during her stay south of the border.
"I had every symptom in the book except a fever, and it was the worst experience of my life," she said.
Meanwhile, back at Café Amoré, Crudo would like to see her days as a delivery driver come to an end.
"To leave it another week or two, it’s going to be really challenging," she said. "We’ll make it work, because we have to."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson