Edmonton

Edmonton hair, nail and tattoo shops must close, council decides

Personal service shops in Edmonton, including hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours and body rub parlours, will have to close after city council approved of the measure at a meeting Thursday afternoon. 

Restaurants and shopping malls can stay open for now

City council's emergency advisory committee met Thursday for discuss further measures to deal with COVID-19. (Natasha Riebe/CBC)

Personal service shops in Edmonton, including hair and nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlours and body rub parlours, will have to close after city council approved of the measure Thursday.

Interim city manager Adam Laughlin had asked council to support the step in ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Laughlin said the order will affect about 1,000 store-front businesses and 500 home-based businesses and is effective immediately.

"But our folks are going to be very diplomatic in terms of the implementation of that," he told media after the meeting. 

Laughlin acknowledged the hardships that businesses in Edmonton are going through. 

"But you can help us that if you can take steps on your own to close, that certainly helps our peace officers and our EPS to navigate through that."

City administration must still determine how much the fine will be for shop owners violating the order. 

The city approved the order ahead of any direction from the province. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Alberta would only order personal services closed if it was deemed necessary.

"We haven't reached that time yet," Hinshaw said Thursday evening during a Facebook Live address with Premier Jason Kenney.

This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement.- Interim city manager Adam Laughlin

During a meeting at city hall, council's emergency advisory committee also unanimously extended the city's state of local emergency, declared last Friday. 

The declaration must be renewed every seven days. 

Under the state of local emergency, the city manager can order extreme measures, such as shutting down non-essential businesses, though Laughlin said he would consult council before making decisions unilaterally.

Laughlin listed grocery stores, pharmacies, telecommunications providers, businesses supporting power, natural gas and drinking water, banking and financial services, and construction as essential services. 

He also said he considers transit an essential service. 

He's not yet recommending shopping centres or restaurants close but reminded people to keep two metres apart. 

Council supported the move to order anyone who's been travelling or who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate under provincial and federal requirements, and for people to maintain a physical two-metre separation, including in outdoor spaces and parks.

The latest on the COVID-19 pandemic from Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatchewan 14:10

"This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement under this order," Laughlin said. 

However, family members and close personal relationships aren't required to exercise the same strict physical distancing. 

"If you're with your family — I mean, it will be a question we'll ask, 'Is this your family, is this your relationship?' And if it is, we'll exercise latitude in terms of enforcement."

Mayor Don Iveson participated in the meeting over the phone, as he remains in self-isolation with cold symptoms. 

"I don't want to have to take some of the same measures that mayors in Italy have taken," Iveson said. "But trust me, I will if I have to."

Iveson was referring to the city taking more drastic measures such as closing parks and river valley stairs, as well as ordering further non-essential businesses to close or forcing a complete lockdown of the city.

"No mayor wants to see their city's death toll rise from something that is preventable, so we need everyone doing their part," Iveson said.

Enforcement

Laughlin said the city will monitor people's behaviour closely, but didn't say how much pressure there would be for peace officers and police to issue tickets.

Wednesday, the province gave municipal police and peace officers the authority to give out fines if they find people aren't heeding the rules.

Kenney said the province is sanctioning municipal enforcement to fine individuals $1,000 for defying distancing requirements under the state of public health emergency. 

Courts may also order a $100,000 fine for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations, which could include establishments like a bar or nightclub opening or a recreational facility.

Council is scheduled to meet again Monday and is expected to discuss the status of ongoing construction projects. 

@natashariebe

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