With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.
It’s been five days since Nova Scotia implemented its COVID-19 proof-of-vaccine policy for non-essential services, such as gyms, bars and restaurants.
Since Monday, people who want to eat at restaurants have been required to prove they’ve received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by showing a paper or digital record, plus their ID.
Portia Clark, host of CBC Radio’s Information Morning, spoke to Gordon Stewart, the head of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, on Friday about how restaurants are handling the new policy.
This discussion has been edited for length and clarity.
Overall, what have you been hearing from your membership?
Generally, it went relatively smoothly. Certainly, there’s a lot of hiccups when we’re introducing something new like this to the sector, so there were some hiccups right across the province.
We had people showing up with their proof of vaccination, but didn’t have identification because they assumed they didn’t have to have it, so that meant they weren’t allowed to be in the restaurant, which obviously caused some frustration with some customers.
There’s some problems that are still lingering out there, and I expect those will probably continue for the next week or so.
Have you heard anything about people showing up without proof of vaccination and insisting they be seated?
There definitely have been some of those, for sure. Some people were not aware of the rules at all, which is surprising. But again, they learn very quickly that they need to have it to get in.
One of the things that’s different from when we were restricted more in restaurants last time [is] there are more sectors restricted now, like large events like hockey games and the Wanderer Grounds and theatres — you have to have proof of vaccination plus your ID.
That makes a huge difference. Now more people are prepared for it.
I’ve heard of at least one instance in which the RCMP had to be called. How common has that been?
It’s not common, but definitely we’ve had to have police and enforcement officers intervene. In some cases some people wouldn’t leave and in some cases the restaurant wasn’t taking the proof of vaccination or the ID, so there’s a little bit of issues on both sides of the fence.
Can restaurants keep a list of their regular customers’ vaccination record so they don’t have to show proof every time?
Yes, that is OK. It’s reasonable that if you have regular good customers and you [check] them in terms of their proof of vaccination plus their ID, then you can keep a record of that. Afterwards, you accept the responsibility as the owner or operator that they have already been tested before.
As the restaurant association, how have you been helping restaurants deal with the anxiety, but also the actual situations that they might be confronted with?
It’s not an easy thing when waiters and waitresses are hired — I don’t suspect they’re meant to be a bouncer or a doorman — so this is an added effort on their part, and I think it’s stressful on them. That’s not an easy thing for people to do. Some do it better than others, but that’s not why they were hired so it’s very challenging.
There’s a website [workers] can go to for tough customers, for bullying, things like that. We also highly recommend that they don’t engage at all. Like if someone doesn’t want to show their vaccination or even some people that don’t want to wear their mask, we’re saying don’t engage with them, just turn around and call the police immediately.
Information Morning – NS8:20How is the province’s proof of vaccination requirement playing out in restaurants?
All the police departments and the different enforcement officers are aware of these situations. There have been a few fines handed out already, so [customers] want to stay in line so they won’t get that fine.
How helpful is the information on that website in terms of dealing with bullies in a restaurant or a bar?
It’s reasonably good. I think good common sense will serve you well too. The biggest thing is the confrontation — don’t be in confrontation mode. There’s no value to that. It’s not going to add any value to the situation.
It’s only going to make it worse and it will resolve itself. It might take five minutes and might take 15 minutes, but they’re not going to get served, so they’re not going to stay there forever.
Something that might come up in that situation is the people who work at the restaurant don’t have to prove they’re vaccinated. The patrons do. Is that possibly a source of conflict?
It could be, but it’s highly recommended. It’s not mandated to have a vaccine, but we are asking that [employees] have a test before you go to the shift. No one should work in a restaurant in Nova Scotia who either hasn’t been fully vaccinated or tested before they go on the shift.
Why aren’t you recommending to your membership that they make that COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for the staff?
We’re recommending that no one work in a restaurant [unless they have been vaccinated] or has had the rapid test.
What if you go into a restaurant, you’re not asked for your proof of vaccination or your identification? What should you do about that?
Well, if you’re a consumer, I think you should raise that issue. The fine for an operator not asking is about $7,500. It’s not something you want to [not do].
It’s possible someone might forget to do that, but I don’t think so given the circumstances now. It’s more likely that they didn’t want to do it and that is an offence under the Health Act right now.
With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.
As Alberta grapples with a fourth wave of COVID-19 at the start of another school year, we’re looking to hear your stories on this evolving situation.
Four Alberta doctors are launching a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services and its president in opposition to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for staff.
The plaintiffs include two rural family physicians, a Calgary anesthesiologist and a Calgary pediatric neurologist.
“Any medical procedure performed on a patient without their informed consent amounts to assault,” the statement of claim says.
Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor in the faculty of law and Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, said the claims about assault and informed consent seem “frivolous.”
“This isn’t a case where someone is being forcibly vaccinated. They’re being told that they either vaccinate or don’t work there,” said Hardcastle.
Here are COVID-19 numbers released today by Alberta Health:
OTTAWA – The pandemic may have seen a rise in the use of credit and debit cards, along with payment options like Square, but Canadians aren’t giving up on cash.
In fact, the Bank of Canada, which prints bills, says there was $17 billion more dollars out in circulation last year than before the pandemic — suggesting Canadians are sitting on a hoard of cash.
Bank of Canada spokesperson Raewyn Passmore said Canadians still use and appreciate physical currency and they don’t see a big shift away from cash coming anytime soon.
“Cash remains popular among Canadians, and in the foreseeable future, the bank will continue to supply Canadians with bank notes they can use with the highest confidence.”
The Bank of Canada believes people were holding onto their money in 2020. The amount of money out in circulation was $83 billion before the pandemic, but that swelled to over $100 billion by the end of 2020.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he will not bring in additional COVID-19 measures because it ultimately takes away people’s personal freedoms.
Moe made the comment while delivering a state of the province address in Saskatoon to members of the city’s chamber of commerce.
Some medical experts and the Canadian Medical Association have been calling for restrictions on gathering sizes as hospitals continue to admit a high number of COVID-19 patients.
Alberta’s government says it plans to focus on jobs and diversifying the economy while keeping an eye on its COVID-19 response as the fall sitting of the legislature is set to start today.
There are between 18 and 20 bills the government hopes to pass before Christmas, including one that focuses on building infrastructure, and environmental legislation aimed at conservation and recreation.
NDP house leader Christina Gray told reporters at the legislature Friday the Opposition would be holding the government accountable for the health-care crisis.
The Canadian Armed Forces says it’s prepared to support Saskatchewan with up to six critical care nursing officers, who it says will be deployed to intensive care units.
The military also says it will provide medical air transport for in-province and out-of-province critical care patient transfers, as capacity allows, and may also supply a pair of Multipurpose Medical Assistance Teams to backfill the province’s nurses.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted late Friday the federal government had approved a request for pandemic aid in Saskatchewan, including military support.
Blair also noted that Ottawa is also in talks with the province to provide additional help from the Canadian Red Cross and other health resources.
British Columbia is lifting capacity restrictions on gatherings across much of the province today, though some say not everyone will be ready to party like it’s early 2020 while still wearing a mask.
Residents in swaths of the province will be allowed to attend events like hockey games, concerts and weddings without any limits on numbers, but capacity will be capped at 50 per cent in areas where vaccination rates are low, including parts of the Fraser, Northern and Interior health regions.
Heidi Tworek, a professor who specializes in health communications at UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, said employers, businesses expecting more customers and even individuals inviting someone over for dinner should expect a range of reactions because the lack of regular contact with people after nearly two years will have impacted some people’s mental health.
The majority of Canadian residents who received the federal Canada Recovery Benefit were continuous or repeat recipients of the now-ended aid program, an internal government analysis reveals.
The assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada found that by early June, 1.5 million, or about 75 per cent of the 1.8 million unique recipients of the benefit, were continuous or repeat beneficiaries.
Among them were some 627,000 recipients who applied and received the benefit for months at a time, never once taking a break.
The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the briefing note to the top official at the department under the access to information law.
Experts who reviewed the document suggested the analysis hints at the level of need for the income-support program, which came to an end over the weekend.
A B.C. man has been ordered to quarantine for two weeks after a CBSA officer refused to accept the digital version of his B.C. Vaccine Card
New Westminister resident Charles Wangersky recently returned to Vancouver airport with his wife and adult son after a trip to Florida for a family funeral. Wangersky said the border agent gave his son an order to self-quarantine as he didn’t have a scanner to read his QR code.
“There was a great deal of back and forth, trying to find his records with his personal care number, but in the end, they left him with a form to quarantine for two weeks,” said Wangersky. “Basically, he’s supposed to have absolutely no contact with anyone, until his two weeks are up.”
OTTAWA — Jennifer Hubert jumped at the opportunity to get her COVID-19 vaccine, but she’s not looking forward to having to make the decision about whether to vaccinate her three-year-old son Jackson.
She recognizes the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, but said she also understands her son is at a much lower risk for serious illness than older adults.
“To me it’s not a clear benefit,” she said.
While many parents were overjoyed at the news that Health Canada is considering approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for kids age five to 11 in Canada, parents like Hubert are feeling more trepidatious, and public health officials said they are going to have a much more nuanced conversation with parents about vaccination than they did with adults.
While 82 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and up are already fully vaccinated, a recent survey by Angus Reid shows only 51 per cent of parents plan to immediately vaccinate their kids when a pediatric dose becomes available.
WASHINGTON — Vaccines for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will likely be available in the first half of November, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday, predicting a timetable that could see many kids getting fully vaccinated before the end of the year.
“If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it’s entirely possible if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November,” Fauci said in an interview with ABC’s This Week.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials are reviewing the Pfizer/BioNTech application seeking authorization of its 2-dose vaccine for younger children, with its panel of outside advisers scheduled to weigh in on Oct. 26.
Several Calgary-area restaurants have been reprimanded by Alberta Health Services for not following provincial health orders.
Closure notices posted online show Purple Perk, located at 2212 4 St. S.W. in central Calgary, has had its food handling permit suspended until the business is able to show it has implemented the provincial restrictions exemption program and follow orders from the chief medical officer of health around masking and social distancing. The suspension will be reviewed on Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, Olifunt Bistro in Carstairs has been forced to close its indoor dining area only after customers were observed not being checked for proof of vaccination and staff were seen not wearing masks, according to a closure order dated on Oct. 21.
A closure order and permit suspension remain active against Without Papers Pizza on 9th Avenue S.E. after the restaurant was found to not be following public health orders earlier this month. The restaurant has been vocal on social media about its opposition to the province’s vaccination requirements for certain businesses.
Alberta officials are hopeful to receive an initial supply of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government soon, but there is still no timeline on when the doses will arrive.
Premier Jason Kenney said three weeks ago his government had requested an inventory of the single-shot vaccine from Ottawa in a bid to bolster sluggish immunization rates in some areas of rural Alberta. Kenney projected those shots could be available in the first week of October.
Alberta Health said Friday the province has requested up to 20,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also known as Janssen.
The deadline for British Columbia health-care workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is today.
The provincial health officer’s order covers doctors, nurses, students, residents, contractors, volunteers and all other health-care professionals.
Premier John Horgan says he’s hopeful that the small number of workers who are resistant to getting vaccinated will get the information they need to get their shots.
Those who don’t have their first dose of vaccine by the deadline can’t work unless they have a recognized exemption.
The order says unvaccinated workers who get their first shot before Nov. 15 can resume working seven days after the first dose, but they must wear personal protective equipment and take other precautions until they get their second shot.
The Health Ministry says 94 per cent of B.C. health workers were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 24, three per cent were unvaccinated and two per cent had one dose.
Overall, B.C. has reached an 89.6 per cent vaccination rate for first shots among eligible residents age 12 and up and 84.4 per cent have received their second dose.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem, the lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team, will provide an update on COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called “Orbital Reef” with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.
The venture will be built in partnership with Sierra Space, the spaceflight wing of defence contractor Sierra Nevada Corp, and will be backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.
Orbital Reef will be operated as a “mixed use business park,” and plans to provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space, Blue Origin and Sierra Space said.
“Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef,” the companies said in a statement.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/NASA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NASA</a> plans on retiring the <a href=”https://twitter.com/Space_Station?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@space_station</a> at the end of the decade, but there’s still important work that needs to be done! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OrbitalReef?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OrbitalReef</a> – <a href=”https://twitter.com/SierraSpaceCo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@SierraSpaceCo</a>’s new space station, will be operational in the second half of this decade, ready for research! <a href=”https://t.co/d3LQIRneQh”>https://t.co/d3LQIRneQh</a> <a href=”https://t.co/2PalPlB9jn”>pic.twitter.com/2PalPlB9jn</a>
Sierra in April announced plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station.
In July, Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight, with Bezos and three others aboard. Earlier this month, 90-year-old Canadian actor William Shatner — Captain James Kirk of Star Trek fame — became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by Blue Origin.
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