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Local food writer disagrees with campaign to keep restaurants open

Last Updated Apr 6, 2021 at 1:10 pm MDT

A shot of a heated patio at a Calgary restaurant. (PHOTO: CityNews)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A well-known Calgary food writer is calling out some in the restaurant business for their messaging as the third wave of COVID-19 hits Alberta.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, a local food critic and columnist, took to Twitter to admonish those behind a campaign to pressure the Kenney government to not restrict in-person dining in the face of rising case numbers, especially variants.

She said she doesn’t blame them for wanting to stay open but that eating out shouldn’t come at the expense of people’s lives.

“I do think when people are really vocal about saying things like, ‘This isn’t a big deal, it’s not that bad, people are getting vaccinated,’ when we see cases going up and we see these scary variants going up, I think it erodes trust.”

Chorney-Booth said owners need to be careful because they could lose customers worried about lax enforcement although they could also gain some from the anti-mask crowd.

In her Twitter thread, she said she’s pleased that many restaurants have voluntarily shut down recently to protect staff and customers.

“Some of the larger restaurants though, especially chains, will have dozens of staff. Often they can pull in staff from other locations or put people on extra shifts. That, I think, is often why some restaurants voluntarily close while others are able to stay open.”

In the past week alone, several locally-owned restaurants, such as The Ship and Anchor Pub, Orchard Restaurant, and Comery Block voluntarily closed after staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), three JOEY restaurants, including two in Calgary, have outbreaks. As of Tuesday, no other restaurant has been designated as an outbreak site.

The current restrictions allow for dine-in service with a maximum of six people per table and only those in your immediate household.