Viral video shows large group defying Alberta's COVID-19 health guidelines at Edmonton restaurant

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The roughly nine-second video, which was posted on Twitter on Wednesday, shows more than 10 people gathered around a table enjoying drinks.

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A video showing a large group defying Alberta’s COVID-19 health guidelines at an Edmonton restaurant has gone viral.

The roughly nine-second video, which was posted on Twitter on Wednesday, shows more than 10 people gathered around a table enjoying drinks. Restaurants were allowed to resume in-dining on Monday by limiting tables to six people from the same household or two close contacts who live alone. At least one customer per table has to provide contact information to the restaurant.

Mark Hladik, chief restaurant officer with Earls Restaurants, confirmed in an email that there was a group of guests at their Crossroads location along Calgary Trail on Tuesday. He said the group gathered at one table for a brief period after initially being seated separated.

“This group was asked to disperse by a server on shift and the guests complied with this request,” Hladik said. “We take the health and safety of our guests, and the protocols of Alberta Health Services (AHS), very seriously. We have opened an extensive investigation into this incident and will be taking steps with staff involved. We have strict COVID-19 safety measures in place at all locations, and will continue to work closely with (AHS) to ensure the safety of everyone who dines with us.”

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Anyone who is found to have violated a public health order could face a $1,000 fine and an additional $100,000 for a first offence through the courts.

AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson said in an email that three complaints were received related to that restaurant. He said AHS has not issued any orders at this time, however, it’s expected that the restaurant will follow all current restrictions.

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“A public health inspector visited the restaurant this morning and met with management to address the concerns, and to ensure the business follows all public health and (chief medical officer of health) restrictions,” Williamson said. “As the province continues to reopen in phases, AHS environmental public health is working closely with businesses and provide guidance to ensure they meet the requirements of the pertinent and most up-to-date chief medical officer of health orders.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said during her COVID-19 update on Wednesday that she didn’t see the video but heard about it from others. She said the majority of restaurant owners are working very hard to ensure the rules are being followed.

“In some cases, when patrons are showing up, there may be slippage,” Hinshaw said. “I want to remind all owners of these establishments as well as the staff (and) the patrons in those locations that it is a collective responsibility for everyone to follow the rules. Unfortunately, if those rules are not followed, there can be consequences for those individual locations such as fines and in the worst-case scenario, those places may need to be closed.”

She added that if the province sees an increase in the spread of the virus it could lead to more restrictions.

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February 11, 2021 |

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