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Calgary’s Mill Street Brew Pub closed by AHS for health order violations, lack of distancing

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After being officially shut down by Alberta Health Services, Calgary’s Mill Street Brew Pub will reopen Wednesday night. The business was closed after it broke numerous health orders, including ignoring physical distancing rules.

In a closure order dated Oct. 5, AHS said the pub had broken Order 25 from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, which says businesses must comply with rules and guidelines outlined by the province to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

AHS said that Mill Street Brew Pub, on 17 Avenue, had broken seven different guidelines, including hosting an indoor event with 85 people in attendance with no physical distancing measures.

According to health officials, people were crowded with no physical distancing in the upper and lower areas of the restaurants, and there were also customers seated at the bar with “no barrier installed to prevent contamination of food, food contact surfaces and glassware.”

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Read more: Calgary café owner says conflicting AHS inspections to blame after COVID-19 health order

The closure order notes that there were also people crowding around the bar ordering drinks, one table was noted to have seven people seated at it, and “multiple dining parties were seated less than two metres apart.”

The final broken guideline that was noted in the closure order was that “a patron served food from the buffet using their hands.”

On Wednesday, AHS said that the closure was issued during a “late-night inspection,” but that health officials are now allowing the business to reopen.

“Mill Street Brewery and Restaurant and the operators have been allowed to reopen as the issues identified in the order have been addressed and no longer pose a risk to the public,” a statement from AHS said.

Read more: Owner reacts to AHS ordering Calgary pub to close after weekend gathering amid COVID-19 crisis

AHS inspections for COVID-19 compliance are done based on complaints from the public and partner agencies.

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“The frequency of inspections depends on several factors, including the number of complaints, the severity of infractions and whether follow-up is required to ensure the items noted in inspections have been addressed,” AHS said.

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“Any actions taken by AHS depend on the severity of risk to the public and the compliance history at the facility.”

A Wednesday statement on behalf of Mill Street said it has “worked closely” to ensure all measures are now in place.

“The health and safety of our customers and employees continue to be our top priority,” the statement read. “We have been given approval by AHS to reopen at 5 p.m. [Wednesday]. We apologize for this occurrence and will ensure strict adherence to the guidelines going forward.”

‘Do a better job’

Ernie Tsu, the president of the Alberta Hospitality Association, said Wednesday that while he was shocked at the broken guidelines, for the most part, businesses in the province have been following the rules.

“If the infractions are true, that location needs to do a better job of following the guidelines that are in place,” Tsu said.

“The last thing anyone wants is any type of re-closure or curfew… I’d say almost all restaurants have done a very good job of going over and above the restrictive guidelines laid down for COVID.”

He added that the association is planning to meet with chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw next Wednesday to discuss how inspectors across the province can be more aligned with their inspections.

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“Our whole association’s been experiencing a number of issues with differing reports from inspector to inspector,” Tsu said. “[There’s a] difference in reports from inspector to inspector… It’s almost like each inspector has their own take on what the guidelines are saying.”

Tsu added that from what he’s heard from business operators, once a public complaint is made towards a restaurant, they are inspected multiple times by AHS.

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While the official order is dated Oct. 5, it also says that management was verbally notified of the closure order on Oct. 2.

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The owners of the Mill Street Brew Pub will now have to complete a written plan for its reopening, including details on capacity, distancing and buffet service details.

The pub will also need to close the bar or install barriers, distance tables and stop bar order service.

Calgary’s Mill Street Brew Pub was closed by Alberta Health Services on Oct. 5, 2020. Global News

It will be closed until Alberta Health Services rescinds the order.