Manitoba restaurants were given the go-ahead to re-open their dining rooms Friday, so long as they limit their seatings to 25 per cent of capacity.
However, while some restaurants in Winnipeg gearing up for opening weekend, others have chosen to stay closed for in-house dining, pointing to the 25 per cent limit and safety for staff members.
The move is part of Manitoba’s loosened COVID-19 public health orders that will be in place for the next three weeks.
Inside those restaurants that chose to open, however, patrons told Global News they were glad to be back.
“It’s great! It’s nice to see other people too,” said Betty Cimarno, who ate lunch at the King’s Head Pub with her husband Steve.
“I think you have to be a little concerned about it but at the same time you have to live your life,” Steve said.
As many happy lunch-goers told Global News, the new public health orders are an adjustment to customers as well as restaurants.
“It’s great but as you can see, I’m sitting alone. I’m the only one from my address but it’s still nice to see some familiar faces,” says Mandy Bell.
“I don’t see why a couple friends couldn’t come sit with me, they could at my house now I guess with the restrictions, I think it’s still a little too strict,” said Shawn Lukaschuk.
Chris Graves at the King’s Head Pub chose to open his doors Friday morning despite operating at a deficit of nearly $11,000 per day.
“Twenty-five percent capacity for us is maybe 45 seats on our main bar, but if those tables are filled up with just one person, we’re talking like 15, maybe 20 people. That doesn’t mean money at all for us,” said Graves.
So why open up?
“Manitobans have been extremely supportive, so it’s our way of giving back and allowing them some mental reprieve as well to be able to come and socialize and enjoy the setting of being outside again.”