They will wait until midnight… and one more minute.
As Newfoundland and Labrador prepares to move to Alert Level 2 at 12:01 a.m. NT on Saturday, bar owners and operators on George Street breathe a sigh of relief as they will once again be able to open their doors to the public.Lex Griffiths, the head of entertainment at Green Sleeves and Loose Tie, is so confident that customers are just as ready to come back that they’re wasting no time: their doors are slated to open at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Griffiths said he and his staff were excited to return behind the bar and onto the stage.
“We are all looking forward to coming back,” he said.
“Our musicians can’t wait to come back on stage playing in front of a live audience”
After the most recent lockdown, spurred by a second wave of COVID-19, Griffiths said, people are eager to get out of the house, but safety remains a top priority.
“The masks and social distancing, whatever is still in place and the capacity is also at 50 percent, so all of our tables will be spaced for social distancing,” Griffith said.
“We are too happy to do it, just to come back and resume our activities”
While bars, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen at Level 2, the same public health precautions will remain in place, including limited capacity and physical distance.
“I think a lot of people have gotten used to the very idea of wearing masks around the club,” Griffiths said.
“It’s become a routine for a lot of people now, and some people don’t have a problem with it; keep your distance, always have fun, wear your mask and stay alert. ”
Griffiths said he hasn’t heard much about what nearby bars plan to do, but imagines other operations are just as eager to get back on track as they are.
“I think a lot of people are probably in the same boat,” Griffiths said. “I’m just nibbling a little and can’t wait to come back. ”
Public health measures still in place
Green Sleeves isn’t the only establishment on the street eagerly awaiting the return of relaxed restrictions.
Don Maher, owner of The Black Sheep on George, said they have already booked a musical act for Saturday night and are eagerly awaiting a return to live music.
“We have a concert booked for Saturday night – it’s Joe Tucker – and normally we have this Sunday night jam group,” Maher said. “It was going really well in the fall of last year, and until before the second lockdown, so we’ll just come back to it. ”
Maher said their site will do everything in its power to ensure that public safety measures are followed, including reminding customers of the correct way to wear a mask.
“We have someone at the door who always checks people for their masks going to the bar,” he said.
Once customers are stationary at a table or bar, Maher noted, they are allowed to remove their masks.
“But if you go to the bathroom or go out for a cigarette or something, masks are definitely mandatory,” he said. “And we’re very strict about it. ”
Most customers are happy to follow the guidelines
Although Maher said most people are more than happy to follow the rules, sometimes a reminder is needed.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of people are the nicest; the scattered person just needs to be called back, ”Maher said.
“People have done very well, and that’s certainly a testament to the province. We’re back so soon after that big bump just recently. ”
With an increasing number of people in the province getting vaccinated and the reopening of the Atlantic bubble on the horizon, Maher said he heard from friends outside the province who were anxious to return.
“There are people who come to Newfoundland every three months, or sometimes quarterly, and they’re here for business only and are regular customers in the Atlantic region. ”
These customers are eager to return, Maher said, along with Newfoundlanders who have lived elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.
He hopes that once things get back to normal business will get a much needed boost.
“We’re going to have a little bump [in business] when the bubble is in place again. ”
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