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“I don't want to defy”: Jennie's Diner reopens to survive Alberta lockdown

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Jennie's Diner in Bonnyville, Alberta is an immaculately kept 50s-style diner in an oil patch community about two and a half hours northeast of Edmonton.

Jennie's isn't just a restaurant, it's an experience.

But that's the problem.

According to the government, it's unsafe to experience Jennie's Diner for anything except take out. On December 13, the Alberta government closed restaurants to dine-in service, moving the entire industry to take out only.

But Jennie Hamel re-opened her restaurant anyway last week. Locals and local politicians supported her act of survival. Alberta Health Services did not, issuing threats to revoke her health permits to operate in response.

Over the weekend, I went up to Bonnyville on my anti-hunger strike to support renegade restaurant re-openings. Jennie and I discussed the impact of the lockdown on her business, and why she made the decision to defy the lockdown.

Jennie's Diner: 10/10, do recommend!

If you are a small business owner making the decision to reopen your establishment in defiance of the COVID lockdown, reach out to Rebel News at, and let us tell your story.

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  • By David Menzies


Are you a small business who is still banned from opening in Canada, but plan to reopen your restaurant, store or gym anyway? Let us know, and we’ll report your breaking story. Simply fill out the form on this page with your details.


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