On each table at Blue Bird Coffee Co. a card was printed telling customers they are sitting there against government regulations. (Photo by Leah Bousfield)

On each table at Blue Bird Coffee Co. a card was printed telling customers they are sitting there against government regulations. (Photo by Leah Bousfield)

Rimbey cafe takes a stand and allows dine-in customers

Blue Bird Coffee Co. opened its doors on Wednesday, part of a movement by small business owners

A Rimbey cafe owner said enough was enough and joined a movement of business owners opening their doors to dine-in customers.

Holly Schell, owner of Blue Bird Coffee Co. on Rimbey’s Main Street, says she respects what the provincial government is trying to do, but believes they are going about it the wrong way.

“Last week I went and got a hair cut, and the lady was very close and touching my face. In my cafe we don’t touch each other’s faces. We have very strict safety and cleaning protocols,” Schell said.

She continued to say the regulations around small businesses is inconsistent and helping no one.

The continued closure for dine-in options at restaurants is hurting not only the business owners but staff and family members as well, Schell said.

When the extended restrictions were put into place in December, Schell had to layoff her employees and stopped baking food items for the cafe as it was too expensive to continue without dine in customers.

“I looked at my kid and thought I had to do this, for her so I can support her,” said Schell.

“I pay rent here, and without anything coming in I can’t pay my rent… If I have to remain closed for another four weeks I won’t make it.”

Schell was inspired by the restaurant in Mirror who opened to dine-in customers earlier in the week.

After hearing about the small-town restaurant, she made a spur of the minute choice to open for one day.

On the afternoon of Jan. 26, she posted a live video on her Facebook page.

Blue Bird Coffee Co. had a very busy day on Jan. 27 when it opened to dine in customers for the first time since early December.

Customers came in to support the small cafe from across Central Alberta and as far away as Calgary.

“It brings me to tears to see the support I have been given. And it’s not just me, but other small businesses in town and across the province.”

Each customer who came into the store was told what they were doing was against the regulations put in place by the provincial government.

Small place cards were printed and placed on each table that said, “By sitting at this table you are acknowledging that this goes against provincial restrictions. Thank you for your support.”

Many customers who came in during the day took pictures of the cards, and said they felt like they were also part of the movement.

“It’s not just the business owners who are part of this movement, it is the staff and the families and the customers who choose to come in and sit down.”

Schell planned to keep her doors open until she “either sold out or was shut down.”

RCMP came to the cafe around 2:45 p.m. and would not leave until every person in the restaurant left and the doors were closed.

She said the male RCMP officer who attended her cafe was “unnecessarily intimidating” and handled the situation poorly.

“I have so much respect for law enforcement… I make it a point to never be rude or disrespectful to them. I know he was only doing his job but the way he handled it was unnecessary.”

Schell says she is afraid and concerned about the repercussions of her actions, but felt she had to make a stand.

She says she has a plan moving forward, but is still worried about what is to come.

In the end, she hopes she helped bring attention to the situation and the “unfair standard the province has put in place.”

“We aren’t doing this to be rebellions, we are doing it because we have to… It’s the principal of the thing. I put so much into this place, I put my heart and soul and everything I have into this, and I needed to make a stand.”

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read