Today, May 5, Alberta Health Services (AHS) physically closed the Whistle Stop CafÃ© in Mirror and has prevented access to the building until the operator can demonstrate the ability to comply with not only Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) restrictions but also requirements under Alberta’s Public Health Act and Food Regulation.
For several weeks, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with the operator of the Whistle Stop CafÃ© to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. Additionally, AHS has attempted to work with the property owner prior to taking such action.
Steps taken by AHS prior to physically closing the site include:
â€¢A Closure Order was issued on January 22, 2021 requiring the Whistle Stop CafÃ© to comply with CMOH restrictions relating to dine-in services.
â€¢A Court of Queen’s Bench Order was obtained on February 3, 2021 requiring the Whistle Stop CafÃ© to comply with the previous Closure Order, as well as CMOH orders.
â€¢A Closure Order was issued on April 12, 2021 to comply with CMOH restrictions relating to dine-in services.
â€¢A suspension of the operator’s food handling permit was implemented on April 12, 2021 for failure to comply with CMOH orders and the Public Health Act.
â€¢A full Closure Order for the facility was issued on April 15, 2021, requiring the Whistle Stop CafÃ© to cease both dine-in and take-out services because of operating without a food handling permit, which is in contravention of Alberta’s provincial Food Regulation.
â€¢The operator’s food handling permit was cancelled indefinitely on April 16, 2021 for failure to comply with the previous Closure Order.
These actions do not include any enforcement efforts undertaken by external partners, including the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, Occupational Health and Safety and RCMP.
Every effort has been made to work collaboratively with the operator as well as the property owner to come to a resolution before progressing to further enforcement action. At this time the operator of the Whistle Stop Cafe has decided not to follow these mandatory restrictions, despite efforts by AHS and other partners, nor have they attempted to work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
With COVID-19 cases increasing, including the more easily transmitted and potentially more severe variants, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans.
Since January 1, 2021 AHS has received 413 complaints from the public about the Whistle Stop Cafe. Public Health Inspectors have conducted multiple inspections at the site since and violations were observed at each visit. Alberta Health Services has been working closely with external agencies including Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission as well as law enforcement partners on this file. Tickets, fines and criminal charges are under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement; AHS is unable to issue fines or tickets.