Calgary brewpub ordered closed after someone served food from a buffet using their hands

CALGARY — A Calgary brewpub was ordered to close after an indoor social event was held with 85 people in attendance who weren’t socially distancing, including one who served food from a buffet using their hands.

Alberta Health Services issued the written order against Mill Street Brewery and Restaurant in the 200 block of 17th Avenue S.W. on Oct. 5, after a verbal order was issued on Oct. 2.

Reasons for the closure include:

  • An indoor social event was occurring in facility with 85 patrons in attendance with no physical distancing measures;
  • Patron were not maintaining physical distancing and were crowded in the upper and lower areas of the restaurant;
  • There were patrons seated at the bar and there was no barrier installed to prevent contamination of food, food contact surfaces and glassware;
  • Patrons were crowding around the bar to order drinks;
  • Seven patrons were seated at one table;
  • Multiple dining parties were seated less than two meters apart, and;
  • A patron served food from the buffet using their hands.

The establishment was to remain closed until the owners provide a written plan “detailing the COVID-19 risk mitigation measures that will be in place and how they will be enforced during events, including but not limited to, patron capacity, physical distancing and buffet service.”

Mill Street issued a statement, apologizing for the closure.

“As a result of an indoor event where public health guidelines were not followed, we received an order from Alberta Health Services to close the brew pub,” read the statement from Creative Management Group. 

“The health and safety of our customers and employees continues to be our top priority and since receiving the order we have worked closely with the public health authority to ensure all measures are in place. We apologize for this occurrence and will ensure strict adherence to the guidelines going forward.”

A sign posted Wednesday said the brewpub had met the conditions and was scheduled to open at 5 p.m., which AHS confirmed.

“During these difficult times, AHS works with businesses to educate them on how they can operate safely for their staff and patrons,” read a statement from AHS.

“We always seek to work with operators prior to issuing orders; however, when businesses are unable to meet these requirements, we are left with no choice but to issue closure orders. Orders are issued when immediate risk to public health is identified. AHS has since worked with Mill Street Brewery and Restaurant and the operators have been allowed to reopen as the issues identified in the order have been addressed and no longer pose a risk to the public.”

Craig Jenne, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary, said large events that lack social distancing can become “super spreader events.”

“Just because we have people indoors doesn’t guarantee we’re going to see a viral outbreak but its the perfect environment for the virus to take advantage of. We have a lot of evidence over the past serve all months that these events do occur,” he said.

“We need to be ensuring that the place hosting this has the capacity for it. We do have a lot of guidelines for physical barriers, physical separation that keeps food service and seating separate. We want to avoid things such as buffets when there’s large gatherings because thats not only risk of handling the same serving utensils but people gathering in one spot.”

Officials with Mill Street declined to comment.

With files from CTV Calgary’s Tyson Fedor


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