The Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Federation of Independent Business are questioning the new COVID-19 regulations being implemented by the Government of Alberta.
The business groups say the new rules have been short on details while giving business owners little notice to make changes to their operations. Furthermore, they say that a
restriction exemption program introduced by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has caused confusion among local businesses.
Under the new COVID-19 plan, people in Alberta must show proof of vaccination to enter non-essential businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, concerts and libraries as of September 20.
Businesses can opt out of the program but must operate at reduced capacity and with distancing rules or restrictions. For example, restaurants not in the program are limited to outdoor dining with no more than six people at a table.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says business owners are confused about whether they must apply to use the program or to opt out of it. Other businesses are concerned the government didn't offer guidance or training to staff around how to check if vaccination proof is fraudulent or deal with patrons who disagree with the measures.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates that small businesses in Canada now have debt totalling $139 billion due to COVID-19. In the hospitality sector alone, 87% believe it will take longer than two years to pay off their debts.