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Alberta Health Services orders Calgary café, hair salon to close over COVID-19 regulation violations

The Purple Perk café in Calgary, Alta., pictured on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
The Purple Perk café in Calgary, Alta., pictured on Saturday, May 9, 2020. Global News

Alberta Health Services has ordered two Calgary businesses to close for violating provincial COVID-19 regulations.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta has 59 new cases, 1 more death

Café

Calgary café Purple Perk, located at 2212 4 St. S.W., was ordered to close its patio and dine-in services immediately until further notice.

According to the notice issued on Friday, customers were found sitting on the patio drinking out of branded cups. That could have contributed to the disease’s spread, AHS said.

Owner Paul Overholt said he and his staff have been following public health directives and denied that people have been allowed to congregate on the patio.

“I was a little surprised [at the order] because we have not been serving anybody inside or outside of our establishment since the beginning of all this,” he said.
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“There may have been a concern that, as individuals, they were not respecting social distancing. But again, that was all outside of our shop and off of our property.”

Overholt said the business has been open during the pandemic and is taking it seriously.

“We’ve implemented every precaution to ensure the safety of our staff and customers, everything is sanitized… everything is in takeout containers [and] we’ve shortened the shifts for our staff so that we have fresh, healthy people that aren’t getting tired working here,” he said.

“I think it’s important that AHS is proactive in making sure that public safety is paramount. When they come in, we make sure that we’re doing what they want and how they want it.”

The Purple Perk café in Calgary, Alta., pictured on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
The Purple Perk café in Calgary, Alta., pictured on Saturday, May 9, 2020. Global News

Staff have brought chairs inside to prevent people from sitting on the patio, Overholt said.

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“There’s so much furniture in here that’s piled up it’s like a maze to get through. There’s no place to sit. There’s barely any room to stand,” he said.

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“I want to commend people that do come in — they respect social distancing and they wait outside for their turn to come in.”

In a statement to Global News, AHS said it tries to work with food-service operators on how public health issues can be addressed.

“We understand during these difficult times many businesses are anxious to reopen or expand services for their customers. However, restrictions related to COVID-19 remain in place to ensure businesses operate safely for the protection of their staff and patrons,” AHS said.

“In some instances, if a business operator is unable to correct issues [that] put public health at risk, a closure order must be issued by AHS [Environmental Public Health] for the protection of the public.”

AHS said it investigates all public health complaints it receives, noting that inspectors have responded to “multiple complaints related to this food-service establishment concerning public safety.”

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Hair salon

A northwest home hair salon was offering services to the public, which could have contributed to the spread of COVID-19, AHS said in the Friday notice.

AHS ordered owner Pricila Noriega-Lessard to close her business immediately until further notice.

“This business was found to be in violation of public health orders issued by the [chief medical officer of health] of Alberta, which, at this time, prohibits personal services including hairstyling and barbering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” AHS told Global News.

Global News reached out to the owner but she declined to comment.

In March, the province ordered non-essential businesses closed, including hair salons.