The Saskatchewan government announced more strict COVID-19 measures for the Regina area on Tuesday, leading to reaction from both those who think the measures are needed and those who believe they could leave a devastating impact.
Regina and District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins approves of the province’s plan to close off a lot of Regina’s economy for roughly 12 days in order to get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopkins says the rise in variants of concern are reason enough to stay home if possible.
“I think it’s important to follow the recommendations of Dr. (Saqib) Shahab, and that’s what we’ll have to do,” Hopkins said. “We support the government — as we have all along — and hopefully we can get through this in the not-too-distant future.”
Hopkins says while it is a blow to the local economy, it’s more important to ensure the safety of others.
“At the end of the day, it’s about making sure that people are safe, that’s the most important thing,” Hopkins said. “We really encourage people out there to really practice all of the things that need to be done: social distancing, most importantly get vaccinated if you can, wash your hands, and wear a mask.
“All of those things are so important right now.”
Hopkins also stresses that those who are eligible to receive vaccines need to get them done in order to return to normal as fast as possible.
Hospitality Saskatchewan recognizes serious impact from new COVID-19 measures in Regina
The new measures on restaurants preventing dining-in past Saturday at midnight in the Regina area could be an extremely tough hurdle to clear according to Hospitality Saskatchewan.
However, President and CEO Jim Bence says while the latest measures are tough, they were expected.
“We anticipated there might be further restrictions or a rollback to past restrictions, and so it’s difficult news for sure, but it’s two weeks,” Bence said. “The government has extended some of their provisions for supports, so hopefully it’ll be a two-week tough run, but we’ll be able to get through it.”
Bence says losing table-side service again is tough to handle because of the revenue it generates.
“Being able to pivot to take-out is an option, but the margins are razor-thin,” Bence said. “With the huge commission rates by third-party companies like Skip the Dishes, there’s just no money to be made. It really is just survival at best with take-out, but that is an option.”
Premier Scott Moe hinted that these measures could be extended past April 5th. Bence says if that’s the case, it would be devastating for the restaurant industry in Regina.