Some businesses feel singled out as Alberta brings in stricter COVID-19 measures

WATCH: Group fitness and dance classes are cancelled and all hockey games are being iced for the next two weeks. Jill Croteau reports on the impact of Alberta’s latest COVID-19 restrictions.

Group physical activities in Alberta are taking a bit of a hit for the next two weeks.

For some of the businesses impacted by Alberta’s new targeted COVID-19 measures, there’s some frustration, feeling they’re bearing the burden of slowing the spread when they’ve spent so much time controlling it.

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Boutique and smaller studios are also having to close their doors for 14 days.

One Alberta spin studio says it’s logged close to 35,000 visits since the re-open and has had no outbreaks. Grady Topak of YYC/YEG Cycle said its studios will comply but wonder what kind of difference it will make.

“We were a little bit in shock when we heard what the plan was going to be given the track record and what we’ve experienced as business owners,” Topak said.

Larger gyms are allowed to remain open but there are new limitations. All group fitness classes are banned.

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Scott Wildeman with Alberta-based GYMVMT said they all have a part to play.

“Although we won’t be offering classes, our members can work out with a personal trainer and still do workouts and pivot to the online platform,” Wildeman said.

“It’s critical people stay active and continue to support their facilities.”

Despite many studios going above and beyond to ensure safety, there’s a worry the temporary closure could linger long after the sharp shutdown.

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Dance studios are also having to cancel all classes.

Invitation to Dance studio owner Erin Feltham said it would be a challenge to survive a longer closure.

“It is hard to be singled out,” Feltham said.

“We don’t have a lot of margins for this sort of thing and were hit hard after the first shutdown. All of us are holding our breath.”

Hockey teams have also taken a big penalty. All team sport activities are banned for the next two weeks.

Kevin Kobelka, executive director of Hockey Calgary said the news was hard to hear.

“A little bit of shock and real disappointment, to be quite honest.

“We have worked hard to run a safe program and have done a good job overall,” Kobelka said. “But we will follow government guidelines and take the two-week cancellation.”

“How we return and what we do when we return is something we have to dig into as an organization.”

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Steve Hogle, general manager of Hockey Edmonton, said this was expected.

“We have been planning on this possibility, so we had lots of thoughts and lots of plans going into today’s media conference.”

All games and practices with Hockey Edmonton and Hockey Calgary will continue Thursday evening but the regulations take effect at midnight.

“Lock it down, folks,” Hogle said. “We can’t fool around with this anymore.

“We’ve got to take it so seriously. And most of us are but we’ve got to shut it down to a ban.

“We will get through this,” he added.

The YMCA said it would temporarily discontinue all group fitness-style classes (drop-in and registered) at all YMCA Calgary facilities starting Nov. 13.

The City of Edmonton said it would cancel all programmed fitness classes and group recreation bookings for the next two weeks. Recreation centres will remain open for individual fitness activities.

In addition, City of Edmonton enforcement officers will help enforce the new restrictions at pubs and bars alongside the Public Safety Compliance Team (PSCT).

Restaurants and pubs in the Calgary area, Edmonton area, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer, as well as areas on “enhanced status,” must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.

Those in the restaurant industry said the new restrictions are tough to hear, especially during a time when many restaurant and bar owners are already struggling.

The latest measures will have an impact on their livelihoods.

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“The curfew is definitely something that’s going to impact our industry, especially for us as a community brewpub,” said Ernie Tsu, Trolley 5 co-owner and president of Alberta Hospitality Association.

“We have a high volume of guests that come in after 10 p.m.

“We’re hoping to see diners come out earlier. We’re hoping to see more support for the restaurants on the takeout and curbside component,” Tsu said.

“We’ll just continue to keep working hard to keep the public safe within all of our restaurants.”

Tsu said many restaurant owners have already spent a lot of money getting their business up to code in terms of public safety, and while the restrictions are difficult to hear, they accept the fact that the restrictions are for public health.

“It’s not easy for anyone in our industry to hear that there’s going to be any type of restrictions coming down, especially after all the money that a lot of the restaurants have spent on plexiglass, sanitizers, masks etc… (but) we also accept the fact that we’re going to do our best to support the government and the public and keeping everyone safe.”

Tsu is encouraging the public to be more vigilant to help flatten the curve – and to prevent future restrictions.

“If it’s two weeks, we’re hoping that restaurants can be resilient through this first wave of restrictions… The public has to help every industry out there, every small business, and be more vigilant. Nobody wants a lockdown, by any means.”

“If the cases continue to rise, we’re all going to be in some big trouble here.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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