Online shaming and intense public pressure are driving a growing number of Calgary businesses to shut their doors entirely during COVID-19.

While sit-down restaurants, coffee shops and delis are currently permitted to stay open in Alberta (but are limited to either 50 customers or half their capacity, whichever is less), many business owners made the decision on their own this week to close up shop indefinitely.

A lack of customers as well as health and safety concerns were certainly factors in many of these decisions. However, some Calgary entrepreneurs say public outrage also forced their hand.

At the Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington, management made the decision to shut down after the pub announced on social media that it would be open on St. Patrick’s Day. Elaine Anh, whose husband Stuart Connor owns the business, said the fact that Oak Tree had plans to obey all government and public health orders — including capacity restrictions — did little to prevent the wave of online vitriol that followed.

Read full article here.

Amanda Stephenson – Calgary Herald – March 19, 2020.

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