Alberta Ends Restrictions Exemption Program
Last Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced that the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) would end later that evening, at 11:59pm on February 8, 2022. Liquor restrictions remain in place, with service ending at 11pm, and tables are limited to 10 people. Indoor masking requirements (while not eating or drinking) will remain in place until at least February 28, 2022.
Hospitality businesses were not given any notice to prepare for the end of REP. The Alberta Hospitality Association questioned the lifting of REP without loosening other restrictions such as the liquor service curfew, while others, including Kris Harvey of the Chvrch of John, are wondering about the motivation behind the decision.
“It’s a completely backwards way of operating. What they’re doing is pandering to an unvaccinated population that has given us the reason to have the restrictions exemption program in the first place.”
The City of Edmonton did not fully explore creating a municipal version of the REP, but given it would have been the lone city to do so in the province, it would have been a challenge.
Although the QR code reader is no longer available for new downloads, those who have already downloaded the app can continue to use it for “some period of time”. As a result, some restaurants have shared that they will continue to implement a vaccine passport program on their own.
Passporteats.ca was intended to be a repository of restaurants continuing with REP, but uptake has been low. Thus far, I am aware of three restaurants that have shared their decision to continue with REP for the moment:
- Northern Chicken, “To quote another post by us…We ain’t changing anything tomorrow.”
- Fleisch, “Our current rules will remain in place until the end of the weekend AT LEAST, while we figure out what our next steps look like. We remain committed to keeping our community and staff safe, and are doing our best to navigate the difficult position we have all been put in.”
- Cafe Bicyclette, “Please note that we will maintain all of our current protocols including REP until we can navigate a practical timeline to return to our normal lives. Merci!…#REPnotRiP”
- Downtown restaurants, including the owners of Chicken for Lunch and Dalla Tavola Zenari, are looking forward to customers returning after the work-from-home order lifts on March 1, 2022.
- Between the Omicron variant and supply-chain issues, restauranteur Paul Shufelt shared that it was the worst January he had experienced.
- Chicken and waffle restaurant Waffle Bird is now open in the former DangerKat Waffles space at 8116 101 Street, from the folks behind the Preserve Food Truck (which they’ve since closed) and WhoaNuts.
- Chicko Chicken, a Vancouver-based Korean fried chicken restaurant chain, has moved into the former Mama Lee’s Kitchen storefront, located at 10633 51 Avenue.
- Hoang Long had closed its other Downtown location on Jasper Avenue some time ago, but it looks like they will be opening another further east, at 9892 Jasper Avenue later in February (formerly housing Al Centro).
- Nuttea, an international chain specializing in dairy-free house-made milks, will be opening its first Edmonton location soon.
- I’m so happy to see a cafe returning to the Downtown space vacated by Starbucks – a Blenz Coffee Shop will take over 10104 109 Street.
- It looks like Ohana Donuts is now closed.
- Sakihitowin is the next Friends of Royal Alberta Museum event on February 19, 2022. The after-hours evening will feature Indigenous cuisine by Pei Pei Chei Ow Chef Scott Jonathan Iserhoff. Tickets are $150.
- Lola’s Gift Shop, the pop-up at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market, is hosting an online cooking class with Mai Nguyen of Gourmai Dumplings on February 21, 2022. Tickets are $68 for two and $98 for four, and includes all the necessary ingredients and complimentary vintage dishware. Tickets must be purchased by February 15.
- The 5th Street Food Hall will be hosting a Tacos & Beer Pop-Up on February 28, 2022, with all four kitchens offering special curated menus.
- It looks like the weekly convoy is continuing to disrupt some Downtown businesses, with at least one, Buok, deciding to proactively stay closed.
- Phil’s latest Best Dish column highlights BaoBao’s wonderful soup dumplings.
- Edify checks out Stanhope Eatery and Bar.
- In honour of Black History Month, Linda has some great recommendations of black-owned restaurants to try. Ashley Otieno also shared a list of black-owned restaurants.
- Confetti Sweets is now offering photo-screened cookies that can be shipped nationally, with pre-selected themes or personal photos.
- For those looking to cozy up at home, On Our Table has curated a February Hygge Box filled with locally-sourced goods.
- Super Bowl Sunday has passed, but the Journal has a round-up of locally-sourced finger foods that can make any gathering a tasty one.
What I Ate
- Mack and I indulged in a hot breakfast from Rosewood Foods last week. I deviated from my usual breakfast sandwich and opted for a very satisfying breakfast bowl with sausage.
Breakfast from Rosewood Foods
- We satisfied Mack’s craving for Oodle Noodle on Friday. We ordered the butter chicken mac and cheese for Emily, but we ended up eating more of it than she did – the sweet sauce was surprisingly tasty.
Oodles of noodles from Oodle Noodle
- We took some Lockstock Coffee cheese scones to enjoy at the end of our walk exploring the Tawatina Bridge over the weekend. I usually opt for their kouign amann so it was a nice reminder of just how great their savoury goods are too.
Cheese scone from Lockstock Coffee
- Mack and I had the luxury to meet up for a quiet Valentine’s lunch today. It was also our first time trying the scaccia, a calzone-like Italian loaf from Dalla. It was such a great deal at just $10, with a generous amount of meat (capicollo, mortadella, salami), mushrooms, and cheese. We will be ordering it again!
Scaccia from Dalla