Winnipeg restaurant owner feels hopeful, asks people to continue supporting local in 2021

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Restaurant owner asks Manitobans to continue supporting local in 2021
Global's Corey Callaghan has more on how a restaurant owner is feeling heading into 2021 and his message for Manitobans. – Jan 3, 2021

Workers in the kitchen at Fionn MacCool’s Grant Park got ready to serve up another day of takeout on Sunday, the only way to feed customers under current COVIVD-19 restrictions.

The restaurant would normally be busy serving football fans on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, chairs are on the tables and cardboard boxes are in the dining room as well.

“We operate on a skeleton staff and we stuff a lot of takeout bags, which we’re grateful for. Not exactly why you get into the business though. We’re managing though, just as well as everybody else,” owner Jay Kilgour said.

Read more: Manitoba pledges $5M for restaurants impacted by coronavirus lockdown

This has been the case for nearly nine months since the pandemic began. There are still months of uncertainty left but as vaccines roll out there are many hopes for 2021.

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“I hope we can open up safely. I hope people can stop dying, and I hope everyone can get vaccinated so we can get back to some normalcy,” Kilgour said.

While that may be some time away, events later in the month like Le Vegan Week offer some excitement for chefs to try out new recipes and potentially attract new customers. At least, that is the aim of the organizers.

“The goal is to support the restaurant scene. They have been good, especially to the vegan community. Chefs have really stepped to offer more plant based items,” Organizer Stasa Veroukis-Reginga said.

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic means bleak times for Manitoba restaurants, according to new survey

Kilgour has a message for Manitobans as we head into the thick of winter and post-holiday season.

“They need to be support small business. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s. It’s been really tough for everybody. Not everyone is in a spot to help. If you are, you have a responsibility to.”

He says any kind of support helps to ensure businesses make it to the other side.

“Whatever you like doing in a non-pandemic world, you need to make sure you support it so it is around afterwards.”

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The Province’s Level Red restrictions, which bans all indoor dining, are in place until at least January 8th. There’s been no indication from the province yet on how or if the guidelines will change.

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