EDMONTON — If vaccinations go up and cases stay down — life could pretty much go back to normal by the end of June in Alberta.
While most of us will be happy to be done with wearing masks and dealing with health restrictions — some business owners in the province are being more cautiously optimistic.
“In order to bring our staff back, have them work for more than two weeks at a time, that double vaccination is super important,” said Kristoffer Harvey, the owner of the live performance venue The Chvrch of John.
Harvey says he’ll wait and see what happens by the end of June — but getting a live performance venue like his up and running is a massive undertaking — and ultimately depends on whether or not his staff is fully vaccinated and safe.
“As venues, we’ve been chatting together more about the end of September or September, but again, a big puzzle piece is touring artists, bands, even if they’re Canadian, them being able to come in.”
Inter-provincial and international travel is still a question mark — making it harder to book the big acts that draw big crowds.
A challenge faced by Harvey and other small music venue owners in Edmonton.
“As much as it would be nice to fill it with local talent, that doesn’t always fill your books and it’s not always profitable.”
Harvey says if Albertans want to see live shows again — it’s up to them.
“We need to prove that we’re all in this together by getting vaccinated — vaccinations work.”
Other owners raising issues with small business support, Rebecca Hung works as a hairstylist and practitioner, she says the small business grant program is a tedious process to go through — and isn’t designed for people who were closed this time last year.
“If you go to apply for April, for this April, and you put in the amount of money you made last April which would have been $2000 for CERB and then you put in the amount of money you made this April — which was $2000 for CERB — your amount comes up as zero,” she said.
Hung says ultimately she will survive — but worries about how this will impact other business owners who may be struggling to make ends meet.
“I have friends and family who have suffered greatly from this shutdown … there’s no easy answers.”