‘Ready to go’: Some Alberta businesses set to open doors again Monday as province eases restrictions

CALGARY — After nearly two months of closed doors, restaurants and gyms in Alberta are getting ready to gear up again. They are among a handful of businesses that will be able to restart operations with some restrictions being eased on Feb. 8.

Noor Sadid, the owner of Eggs Oasis Breakfast and Lunch, says they have been anxiously waiting for this.

“We are ready to go and my employees are excited they can come out of their homes,” he said.

“I know the cases in Alberta are going down so that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to seeing my customers again.”

Restaurants in Alberta will be able to offer dine-in service to customers, however, the number of people in each group is limited to six from the same household. People who live alone can dine with up to two close contacts.

For gyms, the rules are more stringent during the first phase of reopening. Premier Jason Kenney says only one-on-one training is allowed.

The trainers at 9Round Fitness in Royal Oak have resorted to online, live workout sessions in order to retain some business but say it is hardly enough to keep the lights on. Manager Claire Laurie says it’s not feasible for them to offer one-on-one training.

“It’s so tough. We’re thinking of it as it’s better than nothing but really it’s not ideal,” she said.

She and the team at the gym are among tens of thousands who have signed an online petition to reopen gyms across Alberta in support the public’s health and wellness. As of Friday afternoon, there are almost 35,000 signatures.

City-owned recreation facilities will remain closed on Monday.

“The city is reviewing the provincial public health plans to understand their impacts on our own operations, services and facilities,” officials said in a statement.

“In the meantime, all city-operated recreation facilities remain closed.”

Phase 1 of the province’s 4-step plan was triggered based on COVID-19 hospitalizations dipping below 600. As of Thursday, 513 Albertans were in hospital for the virus with 94 in intensive care.

In order for Phase 2 to begin, hospitalization need to be below 450. If this happens, restrictions will be eased on retail, banquet halls, community halls, conference halls along with further easing of indoor fitness measures.

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