Edmonton hair, nail and tattoo shops need to close, city manager says

Personal service shops in Edmonton, including hair and nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlours and body rub parlours, will legally have to close after city council approved of the measure at a meeting Thursday afternoon. 

City Manager Adam Laughlin asked council to support the step in ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Laughlin said the order will affect about 1,000 store-front businesses and 500 home-based businesses and is effective immediately.

"But our folks are going to be very diplomatic in terms of the implementation of that," Laughlin told media following the meeting. 

Laughlin acknowledged the hardships that businesses in Edmonton are going through. 

"But you can help us that if you can take steps on your own to close, that certainly helps our peace offices and our EPS to navigate through that." 

City administration must still determine how much the fine will be for shop owners violating the order. 

The city passed the order ahead of any direction by the province. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday evening Alberta would only order personal services closed if it was deemed necessary.

"We haven't reached that time yet," she said during a Facebook Live address alongside Premier Jason Kenney.

'This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement' - City manager Adam Laughlin

During a meeting at city hall, council's emergency advisory committee also unanimously extended the city's state of local emergency, declared last Friday. 

The declaration must be renewed every seven days. 

Under the state of local emergency, the city manager can order extreme measures, such as shutting down non-essential businesses, though Laughlin said he would consult council before making decisions unilaterally.

Laughlin lists grocery stores, pharmacies, telecommunications providers, businesses supporting power, natural gas and drinking water, banking and financial services, and construction as essential services. 

He also said he considers transit an essential service. 

Laughlin said he's not yet recommending shopping centres or restaurants close but reminded people to keep two metres apart. 

Council supported the move to order anyone who's been travelling or who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate under provincial and federal requirements. 

And for people to maintain a physical two-metre separation, including in outdoor spaces and parks. 

"This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement under this order," Laughlin said. 

However, family members and close personal relationships aren't required to exercise the same strict social distancing. 

"If you're with your family — I mean it will be a question we'll ask, 'Is this your family is this your relationship?' And if it is, we'll exercise latitude in terms of enforcement."

Mayor Don Iveson participated in the meeting over the phone, as he remains in self-isolation with cold symptoms. 

"I don't want to have to take some of the same measures that mayors in Italy have taken," Iveson said. "But trust me, I will if I have to."

Iveson is referring to the city taking more drastic measures like closing parks and river valley stairs, as well as ordering further non-essential businesses to close or a complete lockdown of the city.

"No mayor wants to see their city's death toll rise from something that is preventable, so we need everyone doing their part."

Enforcement

Laughlin said the city will monitor people's behaviour closely in the coming days but didn't say how much pressure there would be for peace officers and police to issue tickets.

Wednesday, the province gave municipal police and peace officers the authority to give out fines if they find people aren't heeding the rules.

Kenney said the province is sanctioning municipal enforcement to fine individuals $1,000 for defying social distancing requirements under the state of public health emergency. 

Courts may also order a $100,000 fine for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations, which could include establishments like a bar or nightclub opening or a recreational facility.

Council is scheduled to meet again Monday and is expected to discuss the status of ongoing construction projects. 

@natashariebe