Slave Lake businesses have different responses to re-launch

Some open right away – others taking their time

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Stage I of Alberta’s COVID-19 economic relaunch started on May 14. This includes retail businesses, farmers markets, day cares, barbershops, sit-down restaurants, and places of worship and funeral services. All businesses and organizations re-opening must adhere to strict guidelines.

Some Slave Lake businesses opened as soon as possible; others are waiting to see what happens.

As of May 12, Legacy Childcare in Slave Lake doesn’t have plans to open just yet, says executive-director Abigail (Abi) Rayne. This is because it hadn’t received enough information from the Alberta government to be able to get ready to reopen. Legacy Childcare is monitoring the situation.

On May 13, Sawridge Travel Centre Café posted on Facebook that it was opening at 7 a.m., Thursday May 14. Conversely, some Slave Lake restaurants are continuing with only take-out and contact-less delivery.

Alimo’s Pizzaria will continue to focus on carryout service and not open for sit-down service.

Co-owner Ali Mouallem says their customers seem to like Alimo’s new carryout format. In this system, people wait in their cars, for staff to bring out the order and debit/credit machine.

“It’s almost like having a drive through,” he says.

Tom Bidart and his wife Anita Kung own TAs in downtown Slave Lake.
“We’re not comfortable,” says Bidart, about reopening the sit-down service. “We’re not going to be in any rush.”

Having the menu in The Leader has been really good, he continues. It means when people call in they know exactly what they want to order.

Takeout and delivery has been going well, he says. The new regulations require tables to be six feet (two metres) apart and have separation barriers and at only 50 per cent occupancy. This doesn’t make economic sense at this time.

In retail, some businesses are waiting and others are opening fairly quickly.

Lorraine Lyons at Flowers etc. is also waiting to see how things turn out.
She’s running the shop with reduced hours. It’s business as usual; the door is just shut. She’ll continue posting pictures of flowers online and receiving phone orders. If people really need to enter the store, they can, but most flower ordering can be done over the phone.

Cozy Toes and Clothes on Main Street was set to open on Tuesday, May 19.
Owner Vicki Leblanc has plexiglass for the counter, like the ones in grocery stores. There will be hand sanitizer outside the door, and she is limiting the number of customers in the store.

As some people will probably not be comfortable coming into the store, Leblanc will continue with curbside pickup and delivery.

In the haircut industry, there were also divergent opening times.

Hassan ‘Sammy’ Assaf opened Lionsden Barbershop on May 14. While others, including Hair Traces and Cast + Court are waiting to open until June 2.

The new protocols for salons and barbers were released by the Alberta government on May 11. These include physical distancing, wear masks, and extra cleaning.

They are to encourage people getting their hair cut to also wear masks. It also recommends the stylist were a visor, goggles, and aprons.

At the barber and salons, wear gloves and face masks. As of Tuesday, May 12, the appointments for Sunday and holiday Monday were almost fully booked. The rest of the time men can walk-in to get their hair cut.

Some hair salons including Hair Traces and Cast + Court are waiting to open until June 2.

“We’re opening a little bit late,” says Cast + Court co-owner Josh Friesen. First of all, he and his partner want to wait and see what happens. Secondly, they are waiting for the personal protective equipment (PPE) order to come in.

The new protocols for salons and barbers were released by the Alberta government on May 11. Along with physical distancing, hair stylists and barbers must wear masks. They are to encourage people getting their hair cut to also wear masks. It also recommends the stylist wear a visor, goggles, and an apron.

The Slave Lake farmers’ market will open at the end of June as per normal, says organizer Megan McNeil, but there will be some changes to do with hand washing and the direction people can navigate the market.

Churches and other religious organizations can open under strict restrictions. One is no singing, as this has a high risk of spreading COVID-19. Another is to keep a list of everyone who attended.

May 14 Alberta Parks’ online campground reservation system will open for bookings at select campgrounds starting June 1 onward with some restrictions in place. Out-of-province bookings will not be processed. There are strict guidelines for all campgrounds in Alberta.

All business guidelines are on alberta.ca/biz-connect.aspx.

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