'People are really craving normalcy': Edmonton business community hoping to fight off COVID-19 downturn
EDMONTON -- Edmonton businesses are feeling the economic impact of COVID-19 as the coronavirus continues to prompt the cancellation of events and restrict travel.
At Rostizado, located across from the now-shuttered Rogers Place, co-owner Chris Sills says while gatherings of more than 250 people are discouraged, he's hopeful Edmontonians will still come out to smaller venues to support local businesses.
"People are really craving normalcy I think amidst all this global pandemic panic," said Sills. "I think that restaurants might be one of the most popular gathering places."
Others in the hospitality industry say they are facing similar struggles that are potentially made worse by health officials' recommendation to not travel outside the country.
"Well, you know it's escalating," said Dave Kaiser with the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association. "With the travel restrictions of course we're seeing a lot of cancelled reservations."
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced a $10-billion stimulus package. And, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson has also pledged that the city will support its business community during the pandemic.
"It's a very tense time, no doubt," said Iveson. "We're going to have to be there for our businesses as well because it's already a struggle for them."