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Big events and staff shortages put strain on Edmonton hotel industry | CBC News

Big events and staff shortages put strain on Edmonton hotel industry | CBC News

A confluence of large events like concerts returning to the city and staffing shortages is putting pressure on the Edmonton hotel industry.

Country singer Garth Brooks brings his latest tour to the city with shows tonight and Saturday. The Edmonton Pride Festival is also hosting a range of events in the city this weekend.

That is presenting staffing challenges for hotels that see low booking numbers during the week, but experience a surge on the weekends. 

“We have to be creative,” Manendra Sharma, general manager of Sandman Signature Edmonton Downtown, said Friday.

“The consistency of business isn’t there and there is a shortage in the workforce, especially in an industry like [hospitality].”

Staff are being trained in multiple roles which allows for them to maintain steady hours, Sharma said, adding that it helps fill different positions during events when occupancy soars.

Dave Kaiser, president of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, said the industry lost staff due to layoffs in the COVID-19 pandemic and many are not returning.

“We scramble to find people to manage it,” Kaiser said. 

“We’re still in a place where occupancy and rates together aren’t strong enough.”

People with luggage stand near the front of a hotel.
Hotels like the Sandman Signature in downtown need creativity to cope with bookings that ebb and flow, general manager Manendra Sharma says. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Travel Alberta data shows that April was the first time hotel occupancy hit 53 per cent since 2019.

The national average is 63 per cent, about seven per cent below 2019 levels, according to a recent Smith Travel Research report. That report showed the lowest occupancy was reported in Edmonton.

A Google search shows that Edmonton hotel rates in most categories are higher than is typical. (Google)

Traci Bednard, chief executive officer of Explore Edmonton, said a lack of international travellers is slowing the recovery.

“They’re the folks that stay the longest and also spend the most most money,” she said. 

Explore Edmonton data shows that internet searches for Alberta and specifically Edmonton are up compared to this time last year.

Bednard believes that is a positive sign that visitors are looking to return. 

“In some ways this is our chance to really get out and experience and enjoy Edmonton … we have more festivals than we do weekends.”

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Staff at No 10 parties believed they were ‘work events’, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has claimed Downing Street aides attending a string of boozy lockdown parties “genuinely believed that what they were doing was working”.

Sue Gray published her final report on Wednesday into the lockdown culture at Downing Street, detailing 15 gatherings, some of which went on into the early hours, and involved vomiting, an “altercation” and a karaoke machine.

The prime minister was asked at a press conference to explain why journalists were repeatedly told by No 10 spokespeople that no parties took place, despite the fact that several events described by Gray were held in the press office.

Johnson replied: “It’s my strong impression that they genuinely believed that what they were doing was working. I certainly don’t think that they set out to deceive you about that.”

At the press conference, Johnson also continued to insist that aside from the birthday party for which he was fined, he only attended gatherings in a work capacity, to recognise the achievements of staff who were leaving.

“I believe they were work events, they were part of my job; and that view appears to be substantiated by the fact I wasn’t fined for those events,” he said, adding, “I believe that recognising achievement and preserving morale are essential duties of leadership.”

Pressed on whether he had not realised such events were against his Covid guidance, Johnson said: “It didn’t occur to me that it was anything other than my duty as prime minister to do.”

The prime minister also said he had apologised to cleaners and other staff inside Downing Street, after Gray said she had been told about several examples of poor behaviour towards such staff.

For a second time, he dodged the question of whether he implied to Gray at a recent meeting that she should drop her report. Johnson, who declined to answer the question in the House of Commons earlier, simply pointed out that Gray’s terms of reference required a report to be published.

The prime minister sought to turn the page on the long-running Partygate saga, saying he would “work every hour” to tackle the cost of living crisis, “stand firm” against Vladimir Putin and level up the UK.

Gray’s report, which was published on Wednesday morning, detailed 15 social gatherings over eight dates during the pandemic, some of which continued until the early hours.

In what appeared to be an indictment of the prime minister, as well as senior civil servants, the report said: “The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”

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Earlier, Johnson told the Commons he took “full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch”. He repeated his apology for the birthday gathering in June 2020, for which he received a fixed-penalty notice.

But the prime minister also continued to insist he believed other gatherings he attended were “work events”, and suggested this view had been “vindicated” by the fact he only received a single fine.

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Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu

Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu

Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu | COVID-19 |

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enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time.

For any issues, contact or call 808-535-0400 .

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Superintendent Navarro hosting strategic plan engagement events for staff, parents and community

Superintendent Navarro hosting strategic plan engagement events for staff, parents and community

Superintendent Navarro hosting strategic plan engagement events for staff, parents and community

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Superintendent Maria Navarro, Ed.D., is hosting several upcoming community engagement opportunities about the new CCPS Strategic Plan. At the events, Superintendent Navarro will share a presentation about focal priority areas, goals, strategies and assessments relating to school system priorities to ensure all students are prepared for life post-graduation.

The schedule below outlines both in-person and virtual events. Those identified for staff may include different messaging than events labeled for parent and community member audiences.

Virtual events will run through Zoom and include a question-and-answer format using the chat feature. The presentation will be posted to the school system website,, at the conclusion of the events.

Staff engagement events

  • Wednesday, April 27, 11 a.m., boardroom, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building (for Starkey Building staff).
  • Wednesday, May 4, 4:30 p.m., boardroom, Starkey Building.
  • Monday, May 9, 5:30 p.m., virtual through Zoom.
    • Event Zoom link. Users must login to an active Zoom account or create a Zoom account to access the event.
    • Passcode is 526808.
    • Meeting will feature chat question-and-answer session.

Parent/community engagement events

  • Monday, May 2, 6:30 p.m., boardroom, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building.
  • Thursday, May 12, 6:30 p.m., virtual for parents and community members.
    • Event Zoom link. Users must login to an active Zoom account or create a Zoom account to access the event.
    • Passcode is 554048.
    • Meeting will feature chat question-and-answer session. 

Staff, parents, students and community members can follow progress of the strategic plan on the school system website at or Superintendent Navarro on Twitter @navarrosupt.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event. CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).

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Music in the Park, Canada Day are ‘going ahead’ for summer 2022, City of Kamloops staff say – Kamloops News

Music in the Park, Canada Day are 'going ahead' for summer 2022, City of Kamloops staff say - Kamloops News

Summer events to return

Two summer events — Music in the Park and Canada Day — will be happening this summer, according to City of Kamloops staff.

Barb Berger, the city’s recreation, social development and culture manager, told council at their March 29 meeting that there will be more information on the city’s plans coming soon.

“We are going to be actually doing some communication about both Canada Day and Music in the Park at the end of the week,” Berger said.

“They are going ahead.”

The city has hosted a virtual Canada Day celebration for the past two years due to COVID-19.

Music in the Park was cancelled entirely in 2020 due to the pandemic. While a two-week schedule of free evening concerts was planned for summer 2021, the event faced an abrupt cancellation due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Kamloops.

Organizers of the Kamloopa Powwow have also announced a return of the popular event after a two year haitus. The powwow is set for the end of July.

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Vancouver Mayor says staff working to expedite applications for community events

Vancouver Mayor says staff working to expedite applications for community events

VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart on Friday in a statement on efforts to improve permitting for community events said: “As we reopen once again from COVID-19 and community groups look to scale up events, speeding up turnaround times and supporting economic recovery is a top priority for the city.

“I have heard directly from many community groups concerned about permitting timelines not being rapid enough to support successful summer events, and I want them to know our staff are working to expedite applications.

“Pandemic guidance from the Province is changing rapidly, and our staff are adjusting in real time to support the community – and I am grateful for their efforts.

“Timelines outlined in our event policies are targets, not hard and fast. I have spoken with our City Manager who assures me staff are aiming to shorten timelines for upcoming events where needed, in recognition that the loosening of pandemic restrictions mean many groups are working quickly to get events up and running.

“Our staff are working extremely hard to support community events and help businesses ramp up for the spring and summer months. We all know how important it is for everyone in the city to get back to the places and events they love.”

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Edinburgh’s Surgeons Quarter to take on up to 70 staff amid events rebound

Edinburgh's Surgeons Quarter to take on up to 70 staff amid events rebound

Surgeons Quarter, which promotes, sells and manages the commercial activities held within the four venues of the college’s campus, has seen demand for in-person meetings and events head above pre-pandemic levels.

The organisation, whose portfolio includes the Ten Hill Place Hotel and Surgeons Quarter Travel, said it has seen events and conferences that were postponed due to the pandemic rebook for 2022, alongside a high level of new enquiries.

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This trend – which has included new bookings for major conferences such as the Functional Regulatory Genomic Disease Meeting, a conference that will bring together international leaders in the study of genetics of disease in April – has led to Surgeons Quarter returning to operate at close to maximum levels.

Surgeons Quarter is the commercial arm of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Its portfolio includes the Ten Hill Place Hotel.

As a result, bosses are looking to recruit for 60 to 70 positions during April, May and June.

Managing director Scott Mitchell said: “It’s a pleasure to be in a position to expand our hospitality teams again and add vital jobs to help us service the increasing levels of business we’re bringing in.

“It’s important that we get the recovery right – hospitality and the business tourism economy are integral to the city’s overall prosperity. We can see first-hand the direct effect it has on employment.

“In addition to our busy events calendar, Ten Hill Place Hotel is seeing encouraging occupancy levels predicted to exceed the pre-pandemic levels.

“To further boost our activities in 2022, we are actively planning for the full return of the Festival Fringe for which we are one of the largest operators, and at the end of the year, we are looking forward to a busy festive period of celebration, which we have all missed in the past 18 months,” he added.

During the first lockdown, Ten Hill Place Hotel provided free rooms and meals to key workers tackling the pandemic. More than 2,100 overnight stays were supplied free of charge at a cost to the company of over £100,000.

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