Annie Mae's restaurant in Mirror
Photo from Facebook

Some central Alberta restaurant owners feel punished for obeying COVID rules

Not fair some eateries obeying regulations are losing business, says restaurant owner

Mirror restaurant owner Annie Mae is finding all of the attention given other eateries that are publicly breaking COVID-19 health regulations a little tough to swallow.

Mae’s Kitchen has been open since the first lockdown ended last May and Mae has managed to keep her five staff working while focusing on takeout orders.

Meanwhile, the nearby Whistle Stop Cafe has gotten lots of media attention and drawn a steady stream of supporters after owner Christopher Scott publicly refused to follow Alberta Health Service rules against sit-down dining.

“They are not the only restaurant in the area,” said Mae, who opened Mae’s three years ago. “There are people who are following the rules and still have their staff working. What about them poor people?”

READ MORE

“We have bent the curve,” medical officer of health

Judge orders restaurant owner to obey health order

Mae said it is not fair to the numerous other small restaurants, cafes and diners in the area who are losing customers to businesses that are ignoring COVID-related health regulations.

She has been getting by because the same people who have supported her for years are coming backfor takeout.

“The community is behind people who help the community,” she said.

“We had a drop in business a bit when we first closed (in March 2020). When we opened up, we tripled our business.

“Right now, we’re doing about what you would do on a quiet day. But we’re still able to make our wages, make all our payments and pay our bills.”

Despite the hardships health regulations have caused, Mae supports the health regulations.

“I know people who have died,” she said. A local senior man, weakened by COVID fell and passed away from his injuries. While he may not be officially a COVID statistic, the virus led to his death, she believes.

As well, a niece has yet to regain her sense of smell after battling the virus.

In Alix, Sally’s Kitchen owner Barb Gilliat says many restaurant owners share Mae’s concerns.

“I do feel it’s not really fair that you’re being punished for following the rules,” said Gilliat. “That’s kind of how it’s turning out.”

Gilliat and her staff have been dramatically affected by health restrictions and closure regulations. She had to reduce her payroll from 18 staff to three during the first lockdown and has since managed to bring back seven.

If health restrictions on sit-down dining are relaxed — as the province has said could happen as early as Monday — she will bring back her remaining staff.

While Whistle Stop supporters have commented in droves on his Facebook page there are others who are not happy with what he is doing, she said.

“There’s a lot of people really upset with it too. There are two sides to the story.”



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 11 additional deaths over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta
Red Deer active COVID-19 cases drop slightly

Province reports 267 additional COVID-19 cases, 11 new deaths

On Monday, Feb. 22, Island Health listed Glacier View Secondary on 241 Beacher Drive in Courtenay as having a COVID-19 exposure Feb. 17 and 18. Black Press file photo
Red Deer sets new COVID-19 case record

There are now 565 active cases in Red Deer

(Photo submitted)
Bashaw 2021 grad class holds successful fundraising drive

Committee is just about done fundraising for the year

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls club Pink Shirt day design focuses on kindness

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker is expected to sentence Satnam Singh Sandhu on Friday. Red Deer Advocate file photo
Updated: Sylvan Lake man pleads guilty to manslaughter for strangling wife in 2019

Kulvinder Sandhu was strangled and died in hospital several days later

Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Central Alberta man not criminally responsible for killing his father in 2020: judge

Psychiatrist testified Nicholas Johnson was psychotic when he killed his father

Girls between the ages of 12 to 18 are most commonly the victims of human trafficking. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Alberta RCMP raises awareness of the dangers of human trafficking

Feb. 22 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

The cover of “Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care.” (Submitted)
Ponoka-born author writes history of old mental hospital

“Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care” covers 1911 to 1971

Most Read