Calgary restaurateurs and hairstylists pump the brakes on reopening plans

Though many were in the midst of preparation, Calgary's restaurants, cafes, hair salons and barbershops won't be opening tomorrow, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Some have had to cancel planned dinner service for tomorrow in light of provincial delay

A man with a mask walks by one of the many businesses closed in Calgary because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Calgary's restaurants, cafes, hair salons and barbershops won't be opening tomorrow, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Speaking during a press conference, Premier Jason Kenney said the province was heeding the advice of health experts.

"I know many folks will be disappointed that reopening will take a little bit longer … but our fight against COVID-19 is going in the right direction," Kenney said.

"We are prudently giving our public health experts a little more time to monitor trends in [Calgary and Brooks]."

The decision to delay opening was based on public health advice, Kenney said, and finalized on Tuesday evening.

But the change is likely to frustrate some Calgary business owners — especially those of whom were gearing up for dinner service on Thursday.


Clint Dawson, owner of the Scotsman's Well pub in northwest Calgary, said he was ready to open tomorrow before having "the rug pulled out from under us."

"I feel betrayed … I had to pay some staff, we cut all our food up, got our groceries in for tomorrow, got our menus printed," Dawson said. "This is just another kick in the teeth. It's tough.

"They should have given us more notice to start with, flat out. They should've told us Monday."

Olivier Reynaud, co-owner of Rouge in Inglewood, said his restaurant was not planning on opening Thursday but that he felt for his colleagues in the industry.

"The communication, [it's] not so good," he said. "[Other restaurants] have probably employed people, they probably have a full inventory in the fridge."

Rouge co-owner Olivier Reynaud said his restaurant has yet to set a date to reopen, but he feels for those who were ready. (Meghan Grant/CBC )

Mitul Kakadiya, who owns the vegetarian restaurant The Coup on 17th Avenue, said this recent announcement will likely postpone their launch further.

"We wanted to see what other restaurants are doing," he said. "We were hoping to open on May 25, but now since the government has changed their decisions we might open June 5."

Other businesses

Retail businesses, museums and art galleries will all be allowed to open starting tomorrow in Calgary.

Delia Wieser, who owns a consignment store in the city's southwest, said her staff will be working until late in the evening to prepare for tomorrow's relaunch.

"We're pretty excited about the whole thing. We've been preparing ever since the shutdown," Wieser said. "We're going to come in early tomorrow to finish sanitizing. We're happy about everything."

Lina Chammoury, co-owner of Edges Salon and Spa, said the delayed opening in Calgary and Brooks will give her business more time to assess and manage risks associated with reopening. (CBC Calgary News at 6)

Others, like Lina Chammoury, co-owner of a salon and spa in northwest Calgary, said the pause came as a welcome relief.

"Our initial reaction was that it was definitely too soon. Salons are different from a retail store," Chammoury said. "We're extremely cautious, because there's no physical way we can keep ourselves six feet apart from anyone."

Pending the approval of provincial medical officials, restaurants, cafes, hair salons and barbershops can reopen on May 25 in Calgary and Brooks, and places of worship and day camps can reopen June 1.

With files from CBC News at 6 and Colleen Underwood


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