On May 14, 2020, the Government of Alberta entered phase one of their relaunch plan in hopes of helping the province return to a sense of normalcy. Stage one allows for some businesses and services to reopen and resume operations with two-metre physical distancing requirements still in effect and other public health guidelines in place. These businesses include:
- Some retail, such as clothing, furniture, and bookstores.
- Some personal services, such as hair salons and barber shops.
- Museums and art galleries.
- Daycares with limited occupancy.
- Cafes and restaurants with 50 percent capacity.
With businesses beginning to open back up, the relaunch has been met with both praise and skepticism from Edmontonians. One argument is that many are happy that Albertans are able to work again, and that the economy will be getting a jump start. Another viewpoint is that others are worried that it is too soon for Edmonton to reopen, and are afraid that it might cause a jump in cases if people aren’t careful. But, how can the public ensure people and businesses are following the proper guidelines?
The Government of Alberta has launched a website for businesses to inform them of guidelines for the relaunch called BizConnect (alberta.ca/biz-connect.aspx). BizConnect acts as a hub for a variety of sectors including: hair salons, daycares, retail, restaurants, general workplace guidance, and more. These resources are not only important for businesses to be aware of, but also the general public. The only way for people to know if a business is following procedures, is to know the procedures themselves.
Another way to have peace of mind while visiting establishments in stage one of Alberta’s relaunch is to protect oneself. Take precautions, wear a mask, and keep a two-metre distance from those you don’t live with. In order to stop the spread of the virus, everyone has a responsibility to do their part, including the general public. If a person is exhibiting symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or chest pain, they are strongly encouraged to get tested for the virus.
As stage one of the relaunch plays out, many people may find themselves wondering which of their favourite businesses are open, as there are some right now that have chosen to continue with delivery and curbside pickup. One of the best ways to find out this information is to check out your local business association’s business directory online. The Stony Plain Road & Area BIA has contact information listed for businesses in the area, where a person can find out how a business is currently operating. There are also a variety of directories online that let customers know if a business is open or not, like thingsthatareopen.com.
After only a short time to adjust to the relaunch, some businesses have decided to reopen and let a few customers inside at a time. Others have opted to remain closed to the public for the time being.
For Celebrate, Gluten-Free located at 15213 Stony Plain Road, owner Lee-Ann Neufeld tells us, “We’re still doing curbside pickup and delivery. It mostly has to do with whether or not we’d be busy enough to do more than that, and because we’re really busy doing deliveries there aren’t enough staff to cover bases right now.”
While the gluten-free bakery is busy with curbside and delivery orders, Neufeld tells us that there is a demand for them to reopen, but that it’s ultimately about if that crowd is big enough to be sustainable yet.
As stage one of Alberta’s relaunch runs its course, it is unclear how comfortable people will be to go back to what they knew before the pandemic. It may take some time, but by taking precautions, both Edmontonians and businesses may just see their lives progress to a new normal.
Megan Lala is the Communications Coordinator at the Stony Plain Road & Area BIA. Megan graduated from MacEwan University in 2018, with her degree in Communications Studies, majoring in Professional Communications. She has previously worked at organizations such as the Zebra Child Protection Centre and the Alberta Diabetes Foundation.