A pair of Lethbridge businesses have announced their intent to reopen on social media, despite public health restrictions remaining in place across Alberta.
The restrictions are aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, which health experts say has put incredible strain on the province’s health-care system.
The current restrictions are in place until at least Jan. 12, but both Electric Skin Clinic and the Canadian Martial Arts Centre Lethbridge said on Facebook that they plan to reopen on Jan. 11.
Electric Skin Clinic wrote in its post Tuesday that it cannot survive anymore shutdowns.
“Our belief is if hockey teams can still play, hundreds of people can shop at Costco or ski together, we are more than capable of providing an even safer environment with a one-on-one setting and our current protocols,” the post read.
The spa also referenced politicians travelling in its post.
Global News reached out to the business but did not received a response on Tuesday night.
Lee Mein of the Canadian Martial Arts Centre Lethbridge posted that he too plans to reopen earlier than provincial restrictions allow.
“It’s time to make a stand,” Mein said. “I am opening my gym Jan. 11,” he said on Facebook.
“If it’s safe for government officials to travel, if it’s safe for big box stores to be open, if it’s safe for malls to be packed, it’s safe for small businesses and gyms to be open.”
Mein added that he encourages other small businesses to do the same.
Alberta Health addressed the businesses’ intent to reopen in a statement to Global News.
“The mandatory restrictions apply provincewide and are legally binding until they have been lifted,” Alberta Health said. “If you violate a public health order, you may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Additionally, you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000 for a first offence.”
Alberta Health’s assistant director of communications, Tom McMillan, added that no decision has been made by the province on current restrictions, and the government will update Albertans next week.
The Lethbridge Police Service also addressed the situation in a statement to Global News.
“It is our understanding that officials with Alberta Health Services are aware of these ‘call to action’ social media posts and the businesses in question,” LPS said.
“At this point, AHS is dealing with the matter as it falls under its jurisdiction.”
LPS added that it would provide assistance to AHS if requested and added police have yet to hand out any fines to businesses or individuals for specifically violating COVID-19 restrictions.