Regina restaurants celebrate reopening after second forced closure of COVID-19
REGINA – Restaurants in Queen’s Town are eager to welcome patrons for in-person dinner after a seven-week closure.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Reinga had to close their dining rooms at the end of March as the city saw a spike in cases fueled by COVID-19 variants. On March 28 – the day restaurants closed – there were 1,026 active cases in the city. The surge peaked at 1,121 a week later, but active cases have since fallen to 378 on Monday.
Tony Yang, owner of Tipsy Samurai and Wann Izakaya Japanese Gastropub, said he and his staff were ready and excited to return to work. He said there were already a few reservations made for Monday night.
“I think people can’t wait to go out and eat,” Yang said.
While restaurants were closed to in-person meals, take-out and pick-up services were still allowed, but Yang said sales had plummeted and the restaurateur estimated he had laid off around 70% of his staff.
“We did everything we could, but it was still really difficult for us,” he said.
The Copper Kettle has been a mainstay of Regina since 1964. Although it has seen its ups and downs over the years, owner Anna Gardikiotis said she has never experienced anything quite like the challenges posed by COVID-19.
As the facility weathered the storm of the first closure, Gardikiotis said the second closure was more difficult.
“It was just demoralizing because there was no light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve had a lot of community support with our take out and delivery, which we’ve always done, but it wears you out, ”Gardikiotis said.
Gardikiotis said she was grateful for the continued support from the community.
“This is why we have come this far, and we will continue to need this support,” she said. “We can’t wait for people to come back.”
The capacity of reopened restaurants is limited to four people per table until May 30, when the province moves into the first stage of its reopening. Masks are mandatory when customers are not at their tables and alcohol sales must stop before 10 p.m.
There must be two meters between the tables with barriers and three without. Barriers are not mandatory outside, but tables must still be two meters apart.