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COVID-19: AHS issues orders to Calgary restaurants after they offered indoor dining

Trolley 5 Brewpub in Calgary, Alta., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Global News

Alberta Health Services issued closure and work orders to three Calgary restaurants for providing food and beverage services indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: COVID-19: Doctor, businesses react to new Alberta restrictions

The health authority said inspections revealed the following establishments contravened public health orders, which might be dangerous to public health or hinder the suppression of disease.

Trolley 5 Brewpub

Trolley 5 Brewpub, located at 728 17 Ave. S.W., was offering food and drinks in an indoor space, AHS said.

The order dated May 4 said the space is enclosed by three walls and a roof, so it is not considered outdoors as defined in the chief medical officer of health’s order. AHS said: “This distinction was clearly communicated to the owner at a previous inspection.”

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AHS directed the owner to immediately close all indoor dine-in services, which will remain closed until an executive officer rescinds the order.

Owner Ernie Tsu said the notice was given after two tables were found to be too close to the overhang of a large garage door.

“They’ve now been moved the 11 inches to make sure that they are compliant,” Tsu said Thursday.

Tsu said he would like to see the Alberta Hospitality Association and AHS work together on creating guidelines that are clearer for restaurants.

“There have been so many issues with patios across the city, well, across the province quite frankly, and we want to work with AHS on policies that make sense,” he said.

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Tsu said the confusing guidelines set out by AHS have been financially damaging to some restaurants.

“We’ve had some instances in the Bow Valley area where two of the exact same patios have been sent in, one has been given approval and one hasn’t, and then the adjustment gets made a week later, and now that one patio that was not approved opens up but they’ve lost a week of business,” Tsu said.

Ceili’s on 17th

In an order issued May 4, AHS said Ceili’s on 17th provided food and beverage services to patrons in an indoor space.

“The space in question was enclosed by 3.5 walls and a roof and is therefore not considered outdoors,” AHS said, adding that the distinction was communicated to the owner before.

Read more: Alberta restaurant owners frustrated as COVID-19 closures cut into prime patio season

AHS inspectors also observed four unmasked staff members in a meeting seated around a table within two metres of each other.

Ceili’s on 17th in Calgary, pictured in May 2020. File/Global News

Ceili’s must now:

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  • permanently remove the plastic walls or the roof of the patio to “ensure that this space meets the definition of an outdoor dining area” or close the space until indoor dining is allowed
  • ensure all staff members wear masks and keep two metres apart
  • complete a relaunch plan template, providing details of risk mitigation measures

Global News reached out to Ceili’s but has not heard back.

Murdoch’s Bar and Grill

AHS said there were three tables of customers dining indoors at Murdoch’s Bar and Grill, according to an order dated April 26.

Read more: Health officials close Whistle Stop Café after Alberta restaurant ignores COVID-19 rules for months

The restaurant, located at 60-1935 37 St. S.W., must immediately close indoor dining until an officer rescinds the order.

“We were told to close indoor dining only because our tables by our garage door were too close to inside,” said owner and manager Aram Bannayan via email on Wednesday.

“We are still open and have complied with AHS, and nobody is allowed to sit at those tables.”

– With files from Matthew Conrod

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