Steinbach residents ‘a little nervous’ as businesses close and COVID-19 cases rise

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Some people in Steinbach are feeling tense after two cases of COVID-19 were identified at a local Smitty’s and the local branch of the Steinbach Credit Union.”It makes you a little nervous because you don’t know now, the next restaurant you might go to, there might be a positive case down the road,” said Leroy Barkman, who lives in the town just south of Winnipeg. .

He was planning on going to the Smitty on Sunday morning for breakfast when he saw it was closed. Later that day, he read in the news that it was because a part-time employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

“It just makes you a little uncomfortable, being a senior and everything,” Barkman said.

Since the Manitoba pandemic restrictions were lifted on restaurants, he dines out once a week, but says he will wait for now.

“We will listen to the news and be careful about it,” he said.

Leroy Barkman says he’s worried about the COVID-19 cases that have been reported in Steinbach, where he lives. (Travis Golby / CBC)

Michelle and Wendell Martens are taking no chances. When they eat out, they only get take out.

“We figured we would keep a little more airspace around us,” Wendell said, adding that they wouldn’t be coming back within the confines of a restaurant until there was snow on the ground. , and maybe not even then.

“We will have to reassess at this point and see what the COVID conditions are. ”

Isaac Loewen owns Golden Fried Burgers and Fries. This is one of at least two other businesses in the region that are temporarily closing as a precaution in light of local cases.

Even though no one who is connected to his restaurant is sick, he said it was not a difficult decision to close for a few days.

“The whole community has to play as a team or it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Other people do, and we even feel [if] there is a low percentage of chance that we can have it in our restaurant, we have to have all our staff tested, ”he said.

As for lost sales, Loewen says that’s a small price to pay.

The Steinbach Credit Union branch in Steinbach reported a case of COVID-19 on Saturday evening. The affected employee’s close contacts are isolating themselves and the branch is expected to reopen to the public on Tuesday. (Travis Golby / CBC)

“You take the safe end at the start, so we don’t have to get to the point where we all of a sudden go to a full stop again. Monetarily, I look at it like, take a little swipe now so we can keep doing business later, ”he said.

Steinbach Mayor Earl Funk says he thinks companies have taken the right steps to protect employees and the public.

He has no doubt that the local community will support the businesses during their closure and once they reopen.

The picnic tables in front of the Bigg Smoak barbecue in Steinbach were empty on Monday. The owners have made the decision to temporarily close so that staff can be tested for COVID-19. They will implement a mandatory mask policy for front desk staff once they reopen. (Travis Golby / CBC)

“We have a great community, we have amazing people.… You know, it’s not easy when your favorite restaurant closes. They will support it and continue, ”he said.

Funk says the community will know more about how to move forward when provincial health officials hold an information session tomorrow.

“I am very proud of our businesses and the way they are handling this, and the way they are making sure that they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of COVID-19. “

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