Hospitality association consulting lawyers on province's alcohol curfew

A group representing Alberta’s hospitality industry is seeking legal advice about the provincial government's alcohol curfew.

The Alberta Hospitality Association says the 10 p.m. curfew – which started Saturday – was implemented without data to prove such a move will limit COVID-19 spread.

“Why is it only hospitality that’s being singled out when data or evidence is not there to support it?" AHA president Ernie Tsu told CTV News Edmonton.

The limit on alcohol service was introduced Sept. 3, with government officials noting unvaccinated Albertans made up the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccination rates were lowest among young adults.

"We've been watching the impact of COVID on our hospitals very carefully and we believe we need to bring back measures that we know have worked through the pandemic in the past," Health Minister Tyler Shandro commented before announcing the alcohol curfew.

According to the most recent data, larger portions of Albertans under the age of 19 are vaccinated than Albertans in the 20 to 35 age group. About 56 per cent of 20 to 24-year-olds are fully immunized, 55 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds, and nearly 59 per cent of 30 to 34-year-olds.

Tsu said AHA was consulting lawyers for "not so much as a lawsuit, but to take the steps to get actual evidence and data that would back up why only one industry is being targeted at this time."

He estimated sales dropped between 50 and 85 per cent Saturday when the 10 p.m. last call rule came into effect, representing losses in the thousands of dollars.

“The tone right now is – I mean, there’s no other way to put it – it’s anger and frustration.”

On Friday, Shandro recognized business owners and operators who have been forced to pivot multiple times over the last year and a half.

"We know that this is disruptive to your operations and we appreciate your willingness to continue to adapt in the interest of protecting your staff and protecting your patrons."

His ministry declined to comment further.

With a report from CTV News Edmonton's Dave Ewasuk