Businesses call for aid as new limits imposed

By Paul Cashman

Edmonton business owners raced to rack up sales before new limits on operations begin on Dec. 13, while some firms called for more help from Premier Jason Kenney to help survive the latest four-week round of restrictions and closures.

At Campio Brewing Company, staff were trying to use up perishables before the mandatory closure of in-person dining and also hoping to attract as many patrons as possible before the deadline.

The public health orders also hit hard in the services sector, with gyms and salons among those facing closure until at least Jan. 12. Even before the latest restrictions were announced, businesses like Laser City had decided to close their doors.

Chrome Spa Salon will be forced to lay off 90% of the staff. "We will survive. We're going to make it but it's a hard one, it's going to be a long haul,” owner William Halabi told CBC Edmonton.

Laser City shut down even before new restrictions ordered. (Supplied)

Laser City shut down even before new restrictions ordered. (Supplied)

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce called the restrictions “the right thing to do” in the face of rising numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. “We continue to urge Edmontonians to shop local, shop safely, support our charitable sector, and wear a mask this holiday season – it’s simply the right thing to do,” CEO Janet Riopel said in a news release.

The Chamber welcomed the Alberta government’s move to boost its relaunch grants to small businesses from $5,000 to $20,000 while lowering the threshold to qualify.

But the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community, which represents 60 local businesses, released a 10-point stimulus plan that called for the suspension of payments and rents, expanded support programs for laid-off workers, and cash payments to businesses. “We need immediate action to save this industry from collapse,” the organization said in a news release.