As the Saskatchewan government is loosening COVID-19 health restrictions around dining-in services on Monday, Regina restaurant staff say they’re looking forward to welcoming back patrons, especially after going through yet another tough partial closure.
“So, honestly the closure felt a lot longer than seven weeks, our sales were much lower than anticipated due to increased competition and I felt, basically, that we were all just fighting to stay positive for the whole time,” explained Tracy Lee Herauf, the Lancaster Taphouse general manager.
Herauf says they’ve got all the physical distancing and health measures needed in place, along with a newly renovated basement that allows for more spacious seating.
Province-wide guidelines say only four people will be allowed to sit at a table, and there must be at least two metres of physical distancing.
Jon Legato, head chef at the restaurant, says he’s excited to see more human interaction when he goes into work the next time.
“During lockdown, it’s pretty lonely coming into work and having no one around, it’s just a ghost town,” Legato said.
“So, it’s going to be nice to actually see people laughing, smiling, and eating food.”
Legato says he’s also banking on seeing more financial stability when it comes to his earnings this summer.
Those working in the restaurant industry say they’re glad to see this change happening just in time for patio season.
“Everything’s been taped out, measured, we know the dimensions of the patio and how many we can accommodate within the standards,” Anna Gardikiotis, owner of the Copper Kettle, said.
“We’ve studied all of that, built more barriers for the outdoor season this time.”
Both Gardikiotis and Herauf hope this is the last COVID-19 in-person dining reopening they’ll have to go through.
“Given what we’ve just been through as a city, we’re very conscious of safety for our staff and customers, but it’s outdoors season and we’ve been counting down the minutes,” Gardikiotis said.
The owner goes on to say she’d like to see more people out and about in the downtown area this summer, bringing back the vibrancy the area normally has during this season.View link »