'Tough timing': Businesses caught off-guard by newest restrictions in Alberta

Industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic have been dealt another financial blow after new public health restrictions announced by Jason Kenney stop alcohol sales by 10 p.m.

The restrictions were announced Friday alongside a $100 vaccine incentive to drive the number of immunizations in Alberta higher.

Ahead of what was supposed to be a busy long weekend, several businesses told CTV News Edmonton they were caught off guard by the new measures.

“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Nathan Brass from Blowers and Grafton. “Didn’t know it was coming.”

“Tough timing. We were just getting our feet on the ground again,” said Cathal O’Byrne, director of O’Brynes.

The new policy is also a blow to those who make a living playing live music.

Musician and agent Cody Mack tweeted that he lost $2,200 this weekend alone, and believes the new restrictions punish the wrong people.

“With the 10 p.m. last call, it limits the amount of business that pubs, clubs, and social house can have after those hours, and most of that time is when live music shows its worth,” Mack told CTV News Edmonton in an interview.

“There’s a feeling of anger,” he added. “It seems unfair to those doing everything they can to go back.”

Venues across the city, like the Starlite Room, have been implementing their own proof of vaccination policy to help create a safe environment.

Mack believes this is a fair trade-off to the current legislation.

“We just want to save our industry,” Mack said. “There’s a lot of colleagues having a real hard time just getting through the day, working day jobs when they had a full-blown career doing what they loved, now doing something they don’t enjoy just to provide for their family.”

While the restrictions are now in force, some events say they've gotten an "exemption" from officials, including the Airdrie Pro Rodeo.

With files from CTV News Calgary's Michael Franklin and Timm Bruch