Edmonton businesses enjoy first day of full provincial reopening under Stage 3

Alberta marks the first province in Canada to drop nearly all COVID-19 restrictions and Edmontonians have finally been reunited with a familiar sense of normal.

As of July 1, all public health restrictions have now been lifted except for quarantine and isolation requirements and mandatory masking while on public transit and at health care facilities.

With restrictions lifted, indoor gatherings are permitted once again and full capacity for hurting businesses is a reality once again.

“It’s nice to be able to get the chance to actually make a profit of things,” said Nathan Brass, Blowers and Grafton general manager.

“During lockdowns, we were completely closed,” Cathal Byrne, director of O’Byrnes, told CTV News Edmonton. “We didn’t even do takeout.”

Byrne says she cannot wait for people to return to the Irish pub to enjoy an experience that is close to pre-pandemic levels.

“I think it’s going to look very similar,” she added. “You’re going to see a DJ, a dance floor, live music, and smiles.

“That’s all part of that social interaction and it’s really great that we can do that again.”

With rules preventing live music and audiences gone, local musician Ari Volk hopes he can trade in his temporary busking for his normal wedding and venue gigs.

“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement,” Volk said. “Being a musician in Edmonton during COVID was not possible. We were shut down completely.

“It’s been rough. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had to use government assistance. I’ve always succeeded at making a living off of music.”

While some businesses are still asking customers to wear masks inside and individuals start to test their own personal comfort levels with the new restrictions, one sentiment remained constant Thursday.

“I just hope this sticks,” Volk said.