Manitoba restaurants will be allowed to increase their capacity on Sunday with the launch of the province’s Phase 3 of reopening — but many of them won’t be able to.
Doug Stephen, president of WOW Hospitality, which owns several Winnipeg restaurants, told 680 CJOB that while his first priority is the safety of both customers and employees amid the coronavirus pandemic. But he’d like to see physical distancing measures reduced even further.
With the launch of Phase 3 on Sunday, bars and restaurants can open to full capacity, a change from the draft plan, which previously said they could open to 75 per cent capacity.
Although occupancy limits will be removed, there are still social distancing requirements.
Some potential solutions include the installation of physical barriers between tables, but Stephen said he’s not entirely sold on making those renovations without knowing when — or if — the situation is going to change.
“It’s not a cheap undertaking, so if it’s going to go on for a bit, we absolutely would… but we don’t know how it’s going to go,” he said.
“So what we’re going to do is try to maximize the capacity as best we can.”
“If we’re keeping socially distancing in place — we’re not going to be able to increase our capacity that much from what we currently are doing.
Jeffrey said Wednesday that some restaurants that are able to implement barriers might see some increase in their ability to serve patrons, but most are working at their maximum capacity — with social distancing — which is more like 50 per cent than 100.
“I spoke with two operators today, and they’ve been getting quotes to try to deal with this, and they were $32,000 and $44,000 to implement these barriers in their restaurant,” he said.
“That’s a significant amount of money for restaurants that have been running at 50 per cent or less of their revenue for a significant amount of time here.”