Grace Engel, owner of ClassiCuts Oasis Salon, has been preparing all week to reopen her Red Deer business. Engel says she has been fielding calls from her customers and already has appointments booked into the first week of June. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Relaunch begins Thursday in central zone: Some Red Deer business owners struggle with UCP’s close call on reopening

Red Deer’s Parkland Mall opening Thursday

The provincial government waited until late Wednesday afternoon to confirm some businesses can reopen on Thursday, much to the frustration of some outlet operators.

Grace Engel, like many other Alberta business people, had been preparing to open ClassiCuts Oasis Salon all week.

“It’s definitely a frustration, because as soon as (the date) was announced, we started getting phone calls for bookings, so it’s like you’re letting down your whole community if you’re not allowed to open now,” said Engel on Wednesday morning, before the final green light was given.

Engel has been fielding calls and is busy with appointments going into the first week of June.

“It creates a lot of anxiety – it’s a lot of extra work and extra money,” she said of the uncertainty.

Engel said business owners like herself are concerned for their safety, their clients’ safety and their family’s health.

“Some of our family members have compromised immune systems, so we’re already worried about opening, and we’re going to get flak from clients if we don’t open. It’s frustrating.”

Ryan Curtis, owner of Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria in Red Deer, said it seemed the government had rushed into its announcement of reopening the economy.

The pizzeria will continue to serve customers with takeout and delivery service, as it has been during the pandemic, but it will not be opening Thursday.

The co-owner of the business said they’re going to wait a few weeks before they open their dining room.

Jamie Aitchison, owner at Little Red Barn, a restaurant just outside Red Deer, also said she won’t be opening the dining area Thursday.

“We’re waiting to see what other people are doing, and see if the government if going to step back and change their minds, so we don’t want to jump the gun and open up and have that taken away,” she said Wednesday.

“And, of course, bringing back staff – you don’t want to bring them back and then have to lay them off again.”

The Red Deer County business owner has been fielding calls from her customers who are asking when the cafe’s dining area will be open.

“They (the government) did say the opening will depend on the outcome of how we’re doing, but leaving it to the last hour is difficult, especially for bigger restaurants that require more staff,” said Aitchison.

The restaurant will continue to serve customers with takeout.

In a Facebook post, Parkland Mall in Red Deer confirmed it’s reopening with modified hours: Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The post states retail stores will open gradually, with curbside pickup available for select outlets.

“Foodcourt and common area seating will be unavailable until authorized to reopen,” the website adds.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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