Pre-pandemic, lunch hour on Friday at One-Eleven Grill in Red Deer would be full. These days, it’s lucky to even fill one table.
Owner Patrick Guimond said this time of year they would be booked up with Christmas parties. The latest public health restrictions have resulted in 700 reservations from now until the beginning of the New Year to be cancelled.
“It’s very hard. This is our bread and butter time,” Guimond said.
“Taking Christmas season away is super tough on all businesses.”
“I feel if (Premier Jason Kenney) would have done this in October, when we knew the numbers were (rising)… If we would have maybe done this earlier, we could have had our Christmas season.”
Guimond voiced his frustrations on Twitter, hoping the premier would see it and take note that these decisions are still hurting businesses.
“(I) could’ve deducted that a shutdown in October may have ensured that the service and retail industries could enjoy their busiest time of year, which would have let us all have a much better chance of survival during this pandemic, but instead you wait until now,” Guimond wrote.
At a town hall Thursday night, the premier said he stood by this decision to wait to impose stricter measures. He also restated if the current measures don’t work to lower case numbers, the province will look to stricter guidelines.
“If we don’t start to see a stabilization or reduction in the growth, then as I announced last week, we will have to move forward with additional restrictions,” Kenney said.
“I suspect that if we do that, those restrictions will be likely geographically focused.”
Kenney said the government will need to focus future efforts in Edmonton and Calgary, where the numbers are rising sharply.