The Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association is seeing other provinces once again shutting down bars and restaurants to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 and they are hoping that scenario doesn’t happen here.
CEO Jim Bence says it would be a disaster if bars and restaurants that are already struggling under guidelines issued were forced to close again whether it be for a short time or a long time.
“For some honestly, it would be the end of days.” Bence said. “It was tough before COVID and it is tougher now. We can’t afford to take one step back. If this happened, it would be one step forward and two steps back. It would be extremely difficult.”
There is a fear that a recent uptick in Saskatoon of cases that have been linked to bars and nightclubs could result in some regional restrictions, but Bence was encouraged to hear provincial chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab say on Monday that he does not want to put restrictions on and instead work with those who need it on the guidelines that have been established. Bence says those words gave him a big sigh of relief.
“99 percent of operators are doing what they can to keep themselves safe and their customers safe so hearing those words from Dr. Shahab were very encouraging.” Bence said. “We don’t need a kneejerk reaction, but we do need our operators and our customers to be accountable for their actions.”
As for the cases in Saskatoon, Bence says that is disappointing because it does nothing to grow consumer confidence. While many bars and restaurants are seeing increased activity, it is still tough on the bottom line with the guidelines established so that consumer confidence must continue to grow.