Although we are still in the initial phases of reopening Alberta, I would like to congratulate all the local businesses venturing to open their doors during Phase One of provincial guidelines. You have been doing an incredible job adapting to social distancing, capacity rules, and new regulations.

 Alberta Health Services is allowing restaurants and bars to reopen as a way to ease our way back in to “business as usual.”  These establishments must meet new conditions, including the following:

  • 50% dining room capacity
  • 2 metre distance between dining parties 
  • Ample room in walking aisles to maintain social distancing
  • Maximum 6 patrons per dining party
  • Remove condiments
  • Keeping music volume low to prevent patrons from leaning in to each other to communicate

One local business owner, Rick Bronson of The Comic Strip, took it upon himself to take additional precautions by limiting the capacity of the comedy club to 25% before opening last week.  He felt it was an additional measure to provide increased comfort and safety for his guests.  This was completely voluntary.  Unfortunately, the Comic Strip was served with an order barring them from re-opening.  To date, they have been fully complying with that order.

The Coming Strip is one of North Americas top comedy clubs, situated at the West Edmonton Mall, right here in Edmonton.  We are truly lucky to have such a world class facility in our city.

The Coming Strip operates like any restaurant or bar currently opened in Edmonton.  Patrons will enjoy food, beverages, and engage in conversation with their table guests.  Unfortunately, this establishment has not been allowed to reopen by AHS due to the ability of laughter to cause droplets and be suspended into the air.

The AHS’ need for caution is important; however, regulations need to be applied equally to all bars & restaurants.  Like anyone gathering at ANY currently opened restaurant or bar in Edmonton, socializing will take place.  Laughter is a big part of socializing and conversing.

The staff at the Comic Strip have shown an abundance of caution and should be allowed to serve their guests food, beverages, and provide safely distanced comedy at 25% capacity.   They have even suggested asking patrons to bring masks to wear, so they can safely laugh in their masks.

All comedians will bring their own sanitized microphones and will be distanced from the guests.

Once again, they have shown incredible responsibility out of an abundance of caution.

If the Comic Strip was not being responsible, they would not have my support, but that is not the case.  They have my full support.  Their rationale for opening is valid.  Today, I will be reaching out to my provincial colleagues to lobby on behalf of this establishment being allowed to reopen.  

To all the comedians in Edmonton, including the amazing folks at the Comic Strip, I am with you.  Let’s get you opened.  I would love to be there for opening night.

Sincerely,

Mike Nickel
Ward 11 Councillor, City of Edmonton