Calgary’s hospitality sector is down to a tiny shadow of what it once was. Years of recession coupled with a decade of huge municipal tax increases has driven countless restaurants and bars out of business. The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown wreaked utter havoc on the industry and those few remaining businesses which are still operating are hanging in there by a thread. With already traditionally tiny margins in the industry, restaurants and bars are barely squeaking by and only because of federal wage subsidies and a loan program. If the industry takes one more hit, it will kill countless struggling establishments.
Nenshi for some damn reason appears to be bound and determined to hammer that final nail into the coffin for Calgary’s hospitality industry by implementing a pointless mask bylaw.
Let’s look at the numbers.
Restaurants and bars have been open with limited capacities for over a month now. People have been dining, meeting friends and socializing and the vast majority of them have not been wearing masks. Retail stores have been open throughout the entire pandemic and the vast majority of patrons there have not been wearing masks either.
So have we seen a mass uptick in infections due to this?
Not a damn bit!
Today’s numbers from the government of Alberta:
With 6,808 tests done yesterday, 46 new cases were found. Active cases are in the hundreds. No spike. Not even a bump.
What about our health system?
In a province of 4.4 million people, we have 55 in hospital and 7 in ICU.
Covid is barely putting a strain on the system.
In light of that, why the hell is Nenshi proposing a bylaw for masks? This thing is under control. There is no reason to crack down further on citizens.
Nenshi was bitching that he is seeing too many Calgarians going about their business without wearing masks. So fucking what? All that matters are the stats and the stats make it clear that the lack of masks has not been a problem. Get over yourself Your Worship!
Now imagine what will happen to the hospitality industry if Nenshi brings in his mask bylaw.
To begin with, it is rather impossible to eat or drink with a mask on. Not sure how we are to get around that. Some have said that people will be able to remove their masks in order to eat?
If people can remove their masks in order to eat and drink, then it is clear that they didn’t need them in the first damn place. Will they put the masks back on when people walk near them? Put them on while chewing and take them off for the next bite?
Either people will be forced to wear masks which essentially means that restaurants, cafes and bars are back in lockdown again which will of course bankrupt them or there will be exceptions made which would prove the pointlessness of the bylaw. How could you make exceptions?? Isn’t the whole thing about “If it saves one life?”.
People are social animals. We like to eat together. Drink together. Talk together. That is why takeout never has and never will replace restaurants and bars. If we are sweating and gasping behind masks while trying to speak and socialize without seeing each other’s full faces, the experience will be ruined. People simply will stop going out to restaurants and bars again.
I expect little of Naheed Nenshi and he rarely disappoints.
This proposal of bringing in a mask bylaw has to be the dumbest damn thing he has come up with yet bar none. There is no reason for it. There are no stats to back it up and it will do terrible damage to already struggling businesses.
I deeply hope that sane members of council tell Nenshi to roll his bylaw up and stuff it deeply into his behind.
Calgary’s industries simply can’t take more abuse from Nenshi’s whimsical, anti-business city hall.