(CNN) — An Alberta restaurant was forced to temporarily close its dining room after the health department found that diners were showing photos of dogs instead of proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, as mandated by the Canadian province.
Alberta Health Services ordered The Granary Kitchen in Red Deer to be temporarily closed last Friday after the department received complaints and launched an investigation on January 11.
During the investigation, the health department sent two mystery shoppers at different times and both were able to enter and dine after showing a photo of a dog and ID instead of meeting requirements, the health department said.
As part of the Restrictions Exemption Program, restaurants and bars are required to require Albertans age 12 and older to provide proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test within 72 hours of entering service, or documentation of a Therapeutic Use Exemption.
Canada has seen a steep rise in cases with the spread of the Omicron variant. The country recorded 294,437 new cases in the week ended January 9, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic’s highest weekly total.
“In both cases, facility staff used a tablet to make it appear as if they were scanning a QR code, when in fact the staff was presented with a photo of a dog,” the Alberta Health Services order said. “The employee then asked the mystery shopper for an ID card and offered dine-in services.”
The dining area inside the Granary has been ordered to remain closed pending action by the owners to ensure the restaurant is implementing the Restriction Relief Program in full compliance, with all staff involved in implementing the program having written confirmation that training was complete, and attend an administrative hearing with Environmental Public Health to demonstrate that all steps have been completed.
“To our valued guests, we have had an unfortunate circumstance on our doorstep involving one of our underage hostesses and REP program requirements,” The Granary Kitchen wrote on Facebook on Friday. “We use the weekend to retrain and regroup. We look forward to serving you again once we are ready to reopen.”
“In closing, we would like to remind everyone of the tremendous pressure being placed on front line personnel and please remember to be kind.”
Alberta Health Services lifted the closure order Monday, according to a letter from the department, and the Granary Kitchen reopened its dining room the same day. Patrick Malkin, one of the restaurant owners, told CNN on Wednesday that Alberta Health Services was “very pleased” with the actions taken to move forward.
“These are difficult times for restaurants in Canada and abroad,” Malkin said. “We look forward to better days for the entire industry.”
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