(Photo from Facebook)
Alberta Health Services issued a closure order for Black Label Coffee House in Red Deer on Tuesday. (Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook) Alberta Health Services issued a closure order for Black Label Coffee House in Red Deer on Tuesday. (Photo from Facebook)

Red Deer coffee house shut down by Alberta Health Services

Black Label Coffee House was ordered to immediately close its indoor dining area on Thursday for failing to abide by the province’s vaccine screening program.

Alberta Health Services closure order also said the restaurant owners were observed unmasked.

The shop’s owner Kyle Valin said he has never been in favour of the restriction exemption program (REP) and the shop has never required customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“I haven’t been doing it the whole time. I’m not going to start now,” Valin said.

Even though the province now is looking at cancelling the vaccine passport program, Valin said he has no intention of putting it in place until that happened.

“Why would I do it now?

“I just wish more businesses would step up. Alberta Health Services can’t go around and close 45 businesses in one day.”

Valin said the shop has received a lot of support locally, and from elsewhere.

“I’ve had people from Ottawa call me to buy coffee for people who are here.”

Related:

Central Alberta MLA Jason Nixon calls to end vaccine passports in Alberta

A statement from AHS said public health inspectors and teams have been working hard for nearly two years to educate, and when appropriate, enforce compliance utilizing its capabilities under the Public Health Act with public health orders from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

Public Health inspectors performed an inspection at Black Label Coffee House on Tuesday, following the receipt of complaints about non-compliance with CMOH orders.

AHS said teams take an education-first approach prior to enforcement actions.

“Education has been provided to the business owners about current CMOH orders and steps that may be taken should the business continue not to comply. Enforcement action is always a last resort for AHS.”

Related:

Vaccine passport causing frustration for Red Deer businesses

On Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney said next week his government will announce a date to end Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine passport program, with the actual cancellation coming soon after that.

https://fb.watch/aZ8X8Mfz8n/

The passport — known in Alberta as a restriction exemption — mandates anyone using non-essential services such as bars and restaurants show proof of vaccination.

Introduced last September, the program is voluntary, but businesses that do not participate are subject to restrictions, including severely reduced customer capacity.

During a Facebook Live event Wednesday evening, Kenney said the program was reluctantly introduced because Alberta was one of the provinces hardest hit by COVID because it had the lowest vaccination rate in Canada.

He said the REP led to a major increase in vaccination and saved many lives, but the program has done its job.

“The reality is that with the Omicron wave, the power of vaccines to reduce transmission and infection against this highly transmissible variant has declined,” Kenney said.

A phased approach will also be announced next week to end almost all COVID-19 health restrictions by the end of the month provided the pressure on hospitals continues to decline.

“Some people will say all of this is too early. But friends after two years of this, we simply cannot rely on the blunt instrument of damaging restrictions as the primary tool to cope with a disease that will likely be with us for the rest of our lives. We must find a way to get our lives back to normal.”

Kenney added that vaccines are still tremendously powerful at preventing severe outcomes, and the best thing people can do to keep themselves safe, and help Alberta open up quickly and stay open, is to get a booster shot.

— With files from The Canadian Press



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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