Alexandre Zune, owner and manager of the Grand Marshal Inn, told Town & Country News that the REP “was not working, so we closed”.
After a complaint was filed with Alberta Health Services (AHS) that the restaurant was not implementing mask-wearing, AHS informed hotel management that they needed to either implement the REP, or close the restaurant.
âPeople get mad and they pick on the staff, and it’s super sad because it’s such a small community, and you can see it divides people,â said Sairah Chabot, assistant manager of the restaurant. .
“It’s so disheartening.”
After requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, the restaurant served fewer than 10 customers in five days, Zune said.
“We have decided to close the restaurant because I actually spend more money on staff than we earn.”
The closure resulted in more layoffs; the third since the start of the pandemic, Zune said. Other staff members have seen their hours reduced, he added. Cooks remain on staff to provide room service to hotel guests.
Zune said he was unsure of the future.
Having a restaurant in a small community was already difficult with a small pool of customers and a drop in industry traffic, he noted.
âYou never know what to expect from day to day,â she said.
She noted that booking reservations, scheduling events or booking private functions is not possible “due to ever-changing restrictions.”
âWe just want to keep our staff employed, and we just wanted to keep things going, but it didn’t work in our favor,â she said.
The province announced the REP program on September 16 after declaring a state of public health emergency.
The program was scheduled to begin September 20 for companies that choose to implement it.