Natalie Klein, owner of Bladez 2 Fadez, pleaded guilty this week to removing a COVID-19-related public health notice from her business in January 2021 and will pay a $500 fine. (Advocate file photo)
Natalie Klein, owner of Bladez 2 Fadez, pleaded guilty this week to removing a COVID-19-related public health notice from her business in January 2021 and will pay a $500 fine. (Advocate file photo)

Natalie Klein, owner of Bladez 2 Fadez, pleaded guilty this week to removing a COVID-19-related public health notice from her business in January 2021 and will pay a $500 fine. (Advocate file photo) Natalie Klein, owner of Bladez 2 Fadez, pleaded guilty this week to removing a COVID-19-related public health notice from her business in January 2021 and will pay a $500 fine. (Advocate file photo)

Innisfail barbershop fined $500 for removing COVID-19 health notice in 2021

Bladez 2 Fadez owner does not regret taking a stand against health restrictions

An Innisfail barbershop owner who was fined $500 for tearing down a COVID-19 public health notice on her business does not regret her protest.

Natalie Klein, owner of Bladez 2 Fadez Barbershop, pleaded guilty to removing a January 2021 public health notice in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday and was fined $500. A ticket for disobeying a health order issued at the same time was dropped by the provincial Crown prosecutor.

“If I plead guilty to the one, they were going to drop the other one. So, I was issued a $500 fine and called it a day,” said Klein on Friday.

She does not regret taking a stand.

“In hindsight, I’d still do it a thousand times over again to keep my business. In the grand scheme of things, $500 is a small price to pay to keep my business.

“What wouldn’t you do to save your business and feed your family — right?”

Klein was one of a number of Central Alberta business owners who protested what they saw as overly restrictive COVID health restrictions that threatened the livelihoods of small businesses relying on walk-in customers, such as restaurants, hair salons and similar personal service providers.

In January 2021, rules introduced aiming to prevent the spread of the virus prohibited Klein and other hair stylists from opening.

Bladez 2 Fadez got an official warning from Alberta Health after reopening to customers on Jan. 12, 2021. Klein, niece of former premier Ralph Klein, was joined by supporters as she took a stand.

Alberta Health Services conducted an inspection of the barbershop that day and ordered the facility closed after seeing hair being cut.

The following day, an inspector observed that the business continued to operate despite being ordered to close and the RCMP, an enforcement partner, issued two tickets under the Public Health Act.

Klein’s case would take a bizarre turn. She hired a lawyer and went to court on March 8, 2021 to fight her tickets only to find out they had been dropped, apparently due to a clerical error.

Two days later, police officers went to her home and handed her two new tickets, alleging the same offences and facts.

A constitutional challenge was filed alleging abuse of process. That challenge has now been dropped as part of the plea deal.

Klein still feels ill-used by the justice system.

“I still feel like it was unfair, just because the original tickets were withdrawn. To get re-issued the very same tickets and then to have to go to trial and take a plea deal, I just feel the justice system needs work.

“There was a little confusion there and I just don’t feel I should have had to pay any fines when they were withdrawn originally.”

Almost all health restrictions have now been lifted and Klein is happy to be back cutting and styling hair just as she did pre-pandemic.

“All in all, business is pretty good,” she said. “It’s nice to resume business as usual.

“It’s nice to see people are happy, kids are happy, just doing what they do best — and that’s just living a normal life.”



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