The Pulse: Sept. 3, 2021

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  • 20°C: Sunny. High 20. (forecast)
  • 1,339: Alberta reported 1,339 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. (details)
  • Sept. 6: The Elks take on the Calgary Stampeders in the Battle of Alberta on Sept. 6 at 2:30pm. (details)

Two people wearing masks at West Edmonton Mall.

Edmonton businesses worry about enforcing mask rules

By Paul Cashman Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

Local businesses prepared for the return of the city-wide mask mandate by reminding patrons that rules will be enforced as of Sept. 3, but they also voiced concerns about customer reactions to the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

City council's 9-2 decision to reinstate the masking rules that were lifted July 1 applies to all indoor areas accessible by the public including retail stores, entertainment venues, restaurants, and recreation facilities.

Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community co-chair Kris Harvey said operators are seeing increasing pushback from guests who will now face a potential $100 fine. "It's super, super challenging and a lot of us in the hospitality industry are on board with saying yes, there are further measures that need to be in place so we are able to have safe environments, but we do need to make sure that we're not the ones holding all the responsibility to enforce it, police it and putting our staff and our businesses at risk," he told the Edmonton Journal.

The Old Strathcona Business Association asked visitors to the area to be patient with staff getting up to speed on changes, while West Edmonton Mall updated its webpage to caution that restrictions extend to washrooms and only allow "brief removal of mask or face covering when sipping a beverage or eating, engaging in water activities or physical exercise, and for children age two and under."

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By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

The cover art for Quantum Kickflip.

Podcast pick: Quantum Kickflip

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

Quantum Kickflip, a roleplaying sci-fi series and member of the Alberta Podcast Network and Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society, came to a thrilling conclusion this week. Edmonton comedy group the Debutantes, self-titled the 'Weird Gravity crew' when playing, have been telling a serialized story through the locally made tabletop game Slugblaster since April.

Local creator Mikey Hamm built the game, which is about "teenagehood, giant bugs, circuit-bent rayguns, and trying to be cool." While the full-length version can only be pre-ordered for now, potential players can download Slugblaster Turbo as a teaser.

Outside the world of Slugblaster, the Debutantes have been writing and performing sketch comedy in the city since 2013. Notable performances include shows at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, Rapid Fire Theatre's Improvaganza comedy festival, and the Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe Festivals. The group has also published comedy shorts online and organized Odd Wednesday, a biweekly sketch comedy showcase at the Sewing Machine Factory.

You can follow the Weird Gravity crew's first adventure from start to finish now, and if you're hungry for more, you're in time for their new story arc to begin on Sept. 15 via their website, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

You can listen to podcast picks from Taproot on Listen Notes or Spotify.