Rakesh Jaswal finally gets to open his restaurant.
On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta’s reopening plan, which will remove most of the restrictions Alberta businesses have been operating under by the end of the month. Non-essential businesses will reopen, and restaurants and bars can once again offer dine-in service.
Jaswal, who has dreamed about owning a restaurant most of his life, could not be more excited.
“I remember going with my family to this beautiful restaurant near our house—it’s about a 30-year-old memory from when we were in India and I always wished to have my own restaurant like that,” said Jaswal.
Jaswal has been planning to open a new Indo-Chinese restaurant in the northeast community of Redstone for more than a year.
COVID-19 restrictions kept on getting in the way.
“The restaurant dine-in was closed just before we were planning to open and then due to this, the contractor was even slowing down the construction work. Things were not going according to my plan,” said Jaswal.
With the reopening plan for the summer now announced by the government, Jaswal believes that this the right time to open the restaurant, as more and more people are getting vaccinated and dine-in service will be allowed.
It’s cost Jaswal money to not run a restaurant over the past year. He’s had to pay $18,000 in property tax, even though the restaurant was not open.
“We got the bill for not even making a penny yet,” he said. “We almost spent $100,000 to just build this restaurant and the property tax has been increased from $6,000 to $18,000.”
Jaswal says the government should help new businesses as they do already running ones.
Allowing dine-in in restaurants will generate jobs and most importantly people who were working in restaurants or fast-food outlets and lost their job because of COVID-19 restrictions will start working again, says Gagan Pratap Singh, who lost his restaurant job during the pandemic.
“That time was really tough for me, I was sitting home for almost one month until I got a job offer from Edmonton,” said Singh.
Singh moved to Edmonton as he was not able to find a job in Calgary.
He supports the Alberta reopening plan.
“I think the summer’s reopening plan is amazing and people like me who lost their jobs will get back to work,” said Singh.
That’s what the politicians hope as well.
“We are truly the end of this thing, we are leaving the darkest days of the pandemic behind and stepping into the warm light of summer,” said Kenney.
According to the Government of Alberta COVID-19 updates, in stage one, which started on June 1, restaurants are only allowed to provide outdoor dine-in service.
Indoor dining, with some restrictions, is effective from June 10, as a part of stage two. Capacity will be increased in stage three.