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Calgary restaurants face temporary closures, reduced hours due to Omicron spread

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WATCH ABOVE: Some Calgary restaurants have had to temporarily close their doors during their busiest time of the year. As Sarah Offin reports, the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is taking yet another toll on the hospitality industry – Dec 28, 2021

The holiday bustle has been put on an abrupt pause at D. O. P. restaurant.

Staff have been sent home until the new year. Some are sick and some have COVID.

“We had a pile of tests downstairs we were taking and they were coming back negative, so we were working through it,” said owner Tony Migliarese.  “Then, over the holidays we had a couple of positive tests and then checked in with staff and a lot of them weren’t feeling well, even if they tested negative.”

“We’re going to close until the new year and we’ll take it from there.”

D.O.P. isn’t alone. Several Calgary restaurants are facing holiday closure or reduced hours due to staff shortages caused by illness.

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Last Best Brewing & Distilling announced its closure on Dec. 26 after several team members tested positive for COVID. instagram.com/lastbestbrew/
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Vegan Street Inglewood updated its followers Sunday, referencing a COVID case among a staff member and testing and isolation requirements that may result in reduced hours over the holidays. https://www.instagram.com/veganstreetinglewood/
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Ship & Anchor Pub closed Boxing Day citing staff shortages "due to omicron.". instagram.com/shipandanchorpub/

While the shortages aren’t all Omicron related, COVID patients are also reporting significant changes in the most common symptoms.

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While fever and a loss of taste or smell used to be tell-tale signs, some doctors say runny noses, sneezing, headaches and sore throats are now topping the symptom list among Omicron patients.

“A couple of things that we’re seeing a lot right now is people coming in with sore throats and sort of scratchy throats thinking that they’ve got strep, and they are testing positive for Omicron,” said Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, an urgent care doctor and family physician in Calgary. “And then the other thing is people coming in thinking that they’ve got a cold or flu, kind of achy and you know, fever, chills, runny nose, tired, and they’re testing positive for Omicron.”

Read more: Omicron spread puts New Year’s celebrations into question worldwide

And while test manufacturers haven’t yet altered their advice, some health authorities are providing new instructions to people using rapid antigen test kits.

The UK government is asking users to first swab their throat – before swabbing their nose – for the most accurate test results.

“We’re finding that people, especially early in their symptoms, if they only test their nose, that they get a negative test. But if they test their throat and nose, they get a positive test,” said Dr. Bhardwaj. “It seems like Omicron lives mostly in your throat at the beginning.”

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Read more: Omicron surge puts Canada past 2 million COVID-19 cases recorded to date

Bhardwaj also advises the use of N-95 masks, especially by servers, and testing before exposures as much as possible.

The Alberta government is expected to provide an update on COVID numbers on Tuesday.

 

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