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COVID-19: Some Edmonton businesses choosing to close or scale back services during pandemic

Click to play video 'Edmonton businesses closing or reducing access to prevent COVID-19 spread: ‘Health is important, lives are important’' Edmonton businesses closing or reducing access to prevent COVID-19 spread: ‘Health is important, lives are important’
WATCH ABOVE: Several Edmonton restaurants have closed or scaled down to take-out only, going above and beyond Alberta government requirements to prevent COVID-19 spread. Sarah Komadina spoke with independent restaurant Northern Chicken and a local mosque about the move – Nov 27, 2020

Northern Chicken has been closed for nearly two weeks after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.

“This isn’t a joke, two weeks is hard for us,” said Andrew Cowan, who is a part-owner of the eatery.

When the Edmonton restaurant reopens Sunday, it will be take-out only. This decision goes further than the restrictions added Tuesday by the province require. Restaurants can still allow in-person dining with up to six people per table, but only from the same household.

“Balancing lives and people’s health, and (having) our restaurant stay open is a tough decision,” Cowan said.

“Our restaurant is really long and narrow. (It’s) really tough for people to actually distance, and even having those 12 people in there, they’re not very distant with everyone — we just can’t be safe with it.

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“We’ve got to do what is best for our staff and our people. Health is important and lives are important.”

Read more: More peace officers to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as Alberta records 1,227 new cases

Northern Chicken isn’t alone in making such a decision. Edmonton pubs The Cabin and On the Rocks are closing after this weekend until next year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

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Telus World of Science announce it’s three week closure.

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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Edmonton mosque is closed too.

“We decided as a community, that as a precautionary measure, we will close the mosque for now and we will re-evaluate in a couple of weeks,” said Humayun Ahmed, the mosque’s president.

“As far as the meetings and activities go, we have converted all of those meetings to virtual and online meetings and programs since March.  The only activity happening in the mosque were the prayers, and as you know, the prayers can also be held at home with family members.”

READ MORE: Alberta enacts 2nd COVID-19 state of public health emergency. Here’s what it means

University of Alberta sociology professor Amy Kaler said the current restrictions laid out by the province put a lot of pressure on businesses owners.

“If they’re limping along, they’re not closed down entirely,” she said. “They’re open, but also their customer base and their clientele base is withdrawn. How anyone can think that is a good idea is beyond me.

“We are past the point of where half-measures, or just partial of just a little bit, but not quite… where these measures are going to change our outcomes.

“I think (business owners) are doing what needs to be done. I would have liked to see the province show some leadership here instead of a mish-mash of regulations which apply in some places but not in others.

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“Even if our leadership won’t step up and do what needs to be done, my hat is off to business owners, restaurant owners, people who run places of worship, (who) are making the tough decisions, and do the tough things that need to happen.”

Read more: Canadians showing coronavirus fatigue, though most still support government measures: poll

An Ipsos poll done exclusively for Global News showed 74 per cent of Albertans would support a lockdown of non-essential services to get COVID-19 under control.