As of Monday morning, Regina restaurants can start with in-person dining again, with conditions.
It is a day many restaurants have been waiting for including Rock Creek Tap and Grill.
Owner Stu Rathwell says the decision by the provincial government to shut down the industry because of surging variants of concern in March did blindside him and others and that hopefully things can return to as normal as possible in the next few months. He feels the second shutdown hurt him more than what the first one did.
“I think people got used to dining at home and not eating out as much as they were before.” Rathwell said. “They got used to trying out recipes they would see on the internet and not make as many takeout or delivery orders. This shutdown hurt the local restaurant industry and while some did better than others, this did hurt many of us.
The restrictions include 50 percent capacity which Rathwell says is not great, but is something he will take because it is better than nothing.
“Fifty percent capacity is the best-case scenario. I would say we are about thirty-five percent capacity.” Rathwell said. ” That is if every seat in the restaurant is taken up. We will have a lot of four-person tables where only one or two people are at them. We are hoping that as people continue getting vaccinated and cases are dropping that people will come back especially when the second doses start getting administered. As we move forward, I hope it gets better. Early indications are that is happening in the US so when restrictions are slowly removed things will hopefully get back to the way they were. We have to get on with the economy, we have to get on with life.”
Other restrictions include no alcohol sales after 10 p.m and there must be at least two metres of physical distancing between customers when barriers are present, and three metres when barriers are absent.
Physical barriers are not required for outdoor seating if guests are spaced two metres apart.