Airdrie Chamber doesn't see many results from meeting with the Premier
On February 9th, representatives from Alberta Chambers of Commerce sat down on a Zoom call with Premier Jason Kenney to talk about COVID-19 and their desire to let more businesses that have been closed off-and-on during provincial restrictions open safely in the province.
The meeting included the President of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Nikki Nordick, Executive Director Marilyne Aalhus along with several other Airdrie reps.
Aalhus says topics of conversation ranged from the pandemic to the problems of the oil and gas industry and, of course, the economy in Alberta was paramount during the meeting. Although Aalhus says the meeting was good and they appreciated the Premier's time, he really stuck to the party line when it came to business relaunches.
"It came down to the relaunch plan and the steps that will be taken based on hospitalization numbers. He's obviously wanting to avoid the yo-yo effect because that's the way businesses have been feeling. This up and down of restrictions opening and closing. The bottom line was he really didn't have any additional answers other than, if we can keep our hospitalization numbers down, then we can continue reopening across the province and opening business in every step along the way."
On February 8th, Alberta entered Step One of the province's four-step Path Forward. That step eased restrictions on restaurants, indoor fitness centres and children and school sports activities. Step Two can go into effect as early as March 1st if hospitalizations continue to fall under 450. On Monday, February 15th, the number of Albertans in hospital was 351.
Aalhus says while the Alberta Chamber hasn't seen much success with their lobbying efforts, Premier Kenney did say that the efforts of some business associations have changed the government's mind, albeit ever so slightly.
"Some business associations and some industries were actually going to have some results from their advocacy work. For example, the dance studios, and tae-kwon-do studios, and those types of groups did have the ability to open, in a limited capacity, on February 8th which wasn't in (the government's) original plan.
"Those open conversations are still welcome and I know it takes time to get through to the government to have those conversations but he did welcome them and he wanted anyone who thought they had a safe reopening plan to continue to reach the government with that advice and hopefully they can take some steps forward."
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