Some Edmonton businesses feeling left out from Alberta’s latest relaunch plan

EDMONTON — One day after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province’s latest relaunch plan, some Edmonton business owners are feeling a sense of déja vu – while others say they’re being unfairly left behind.

As part of the Kenney government’s three-stage plan, beginning June 1, the removal of health measures in Alberta will begin; a strategy that’s dependent on increasing vaccination rates and decreasing hospitalizations. 

With that date now set, restaurants are starting the process of opening patios, and hair salons are once again booking appointments – but with gyms and fitness classes left off the reopening list until Stage 2, one gym owner tells CTV News Edmonton the new plan doesn’t make sense.

“We don’t understand,” Shara Vigeant, owner of SVPT Fitness & Athletics, said.

“You can go get eyelashes done and be face to face with someone for three hours,” she said, “but you can’t meet your trainer one on one for a three-metre distanced, masked session?”

‘THIS IS THE TIME WHEN WE NEED IT’

As gyms await the nod to reopen as part of Stage 2, Wednesday’s announcement meant at least one Edmonton salon was already kicking into high gear.

Concrete Blonde Hair and Body owner Chad Stewart says the yo-yo effect of closing and reopening through the pandemic has been bad for business. Still, he’s pleased to be opening once again.

CONCRETE BLONDE HAIR AND BODY

“It’s a lot of work trying to get everything put together very quickly,” Stewart told CTV News Edmonton. “It’s gonna be a gong-show… In a very good way.”

Stewart’s learned some lessons from previous provincial shutdowns – this time his salon has set up a waiting list. 

He says this reopen couldn’t come soon enough, as an influx of businesses applying for financial assistance has caused a bottleneck in the system.

“This is the time when we need it,” said Stewart. “June 1 coming up. We get to open, but rent is due June 1.”

As for patio season, it may already have arrived in Alberta’s capital city, but beginning next Tuesday it will also be allowed.

As of June 1, patio dining can resume at restaurants with a maximum of four people per table.

In a bid to salvage some revenue until indoor dining returns, Chop Steakhouse added temporary patios to its Edmonton locations before the last shutdown.

Chop Steakhouse regional manager Brad German told CTV News Edmonton his restaurant’s west Edmonton location spent nearly $9,000 on building its patio — money he doesn’t believe will be recouped in a single patio season.

“We had to do it,” said German. “It was to save jobs and keep people earning their rent money.”

German says with all the forced closures and subsequent reopenings over the last year, he’s cautiously optimistic that this time could be different.

“To hear that there’s this optimistic future ahead of us, and relatively quickly, is very exciting for us.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Carlyle Fiset

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