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CHAMBER RESPONSE TO STATE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

CHAMBER RESPONSE TO STATE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement in response to the Government of Alberta update on Covid 19

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement in response to the Government of Alberta update on Covid 19. “We were reassured to know that the announcements made today were not a complete lockdown on our business community, as we know many of our local businesses would not survive another closure. The Government has provided increased clarity and has transitioned some former recommended measures to mandatory requirements with a focus on stronger adherence to the Covid 19 guidelines,” stated Chamber President, Marcus Campbell.

The Chamber has been encouraging everyone to work together to slow the rising number of cases, so that collectively we can prevent additional restrictive measures. This includes all Alberta Health guidelines including washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer, maintaining a physical distance of two metres or greater, and when distancing isn't possible, wear a mask. This also includes the additional measures to prevent the spread by regularly sanitizing surfaces, staying home when you have symptoms and taking the COVID self-assessment. 

The Government of Alberta has updated the information on their website: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx. The business and service restrictions come into effect on November 27th including:

Business closures for in-person services including:

  • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres
  • Children’s play places or indoor playgrounds
  • All levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur). Exemptions may be considered.

Continued operation of restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges with restrictions as long as public health guidance is in place including:

  • Maximum of 6 people from the same immediate household at a table and no movement between tables. People who live alone can meet with up to 2 non-household contacts as long as they’re the same two throughout the duration of these restrictions
  • Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
  • Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in person-dining at 11 pm. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.

Continued operation with limited capacity of 25% for most retail businesses including:

  • Retail, including liquor and cannabis
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Clothing stores
  • Computer and technology stores
  • Hardware
  • Automotive
  • Farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets

Continued operation with limited capacity of 25% for entertainment and event services including:

  • Movie theatres
  • Museums and galleries
  • Libraries
  • Casinos, offering slots only. Table games must be closed at this time.
  • Indoor entertainment centres including amusement parks, water parks, bingo halls and racing centres.
  • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.
    • Facilities can be open for individual studio time, training or exercise only.
    • There can be no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.
    • Instructors can use facility to broadcast virtual fitness classes from, but there can be no group class.

Continued operation by appointment only (no walk-in services permitted) for one-on-one services including:

  • Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services,
  • Wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology
  • Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers
  • Private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted)
  • Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges

The Government has stated that all public health guidance and physical distancing requirements must be followed and Albertans and businesses are encouraged to limit in-person visits and use curbside pick up, take out, drive-thru, delivery and online services instead.

They have also stated that additional inspections will occur to verify that public health measures are being followed and establishments that are non compliant may face orders and fines from $1,000 up to $100,000.

Campbell further went on to state, “We know this is very difficult for everyone, but we knew that if cases were not reduced that we would see further enhanced measures. We will lead by example and our Chamber employees will transition to a remote work environment once again. Our Chamber of Commerce team was able to operate and provide service to our community during the first 6 months of this pandemic while working remotely and will do so again until at least January 11th.”

“We need to bring down our case counts and it will take the effort of each individual to make this happen. We all need to work together on our common goal of keeping our businesses and our economy open, to prevent further restrictions and to keep everyone safe,” stated Campbell. “The Chamber is here as a resource and there are a number of supports available. Whether a business needs guidance on funding available or hazard assessment templates or even where to source additional PPE, we are here for you and we encourage you to connect with us if you need further information. We know this is not easy, but if we work together, we can overcome this and come out stronger and more resilient than before” concluded Campbell.

The primary focus by the Government of Alberta was on gathering restrictions, with very targeted and limited indoor and outdoor gatherings, which every Albertan should become familiar with. These new measures will also have an impact on weddings, funerals, places of worship and schools.

The Chamber has encouraged businesses to have up to date plans to sustain business operations and limit risk that could result from closures or enhanced restrictions due to increased case counts. 

The ShopHERE program, a partnership between the Chamber, APEX, Community Futures Entre-Corp, Invest Medicine Hat and the City of Medicine Hat, launched earlier this year on July 13th to help businesses shift to an online format. This program was launched in recognition that businesses would need to build up their resiliency and find ways to enhance services and continue to operate and sell their products regardless of public health measures or restrictions. 

The Chamber also developed a one stop shop of tools and resources and have continually been updating this information on the Chamber COVID-19 Information & Resources website page since the start of the pandemic. In addition the Chamber posts weekly blog updates and e-newsletter communications. Businesses that have questions on supports and funding can reach out to the Chamber by phone, email or through their website and subscribe to their e-newsletter.

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Marcus Campbell, President
c/o Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.225

The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing businesses' interests in our region and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support, and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood to promote business, monitor government, and champion managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region. Aligning with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.


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