At midnight on May 25, British Columbia’s “circuit breaker” restrictions, which closed indoor restaurants in March, expired. As of now, indoor and outdoor dining is allowed, with up to six people at a table.
Nigel Pike is the owner and operator of Vancouver’s Main Street Brewing, The Cascade Room, El Camino’s and The Union. He describes Tuesday’s announcement of a four-phase reopening plan as bittersweet.
“We felt that we had to open a restaurant several times, in many ways it was really mentally devastating for the staff, obviously, not knowing what is going on on a daily basis,” he explains.
“On a positive note, it’s fantastic. On a tough note, it’s hard to find staff there right now. “
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Yet the return to indoor dining means restaurants without a patio can once again serve customers, and those who don’t will be just as hard hit if the weather is bad.
“We have a lot of friends in the hospitality industry who have been hit hard by the changes to indoor dining because if you don’t have a patio it reduces your ability to generate income. So this is a massive change for people to come back inside, ”he says.
“It’s a huge relief to know that we can eat inside again. The most important thing is obviously to have a plan in place for the next few months that will bring us back to some sort of normalcy, whatever that sounds like more. It’s enormous. “
As of today, we are happy to announce that restaurants can open their doors and welcome guests to dine inside. Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry have announced a positive plan to move forward in 4 steps. https://t.co/if5ztHZF2B
– Restaurants BC (@BCRFA) May 25, 2021
Each phase of the restart plan trusts that the number of cases is low and vaccination rates are high, which Pike recognizes could change.
“We’re doing it one step at a time for ourselves, because who knows what’s coming. We have been working on this for over a year and changes have been thrown at us left, right and center, ”he explains.
“I really don’t want to rely on anything other than eating inside, it’s great. And after? Who knows? “
But the existence of clear benchmarks is something that Pike says reassures himself and his staff, more than half of whom have been laid off and are wondering what the future holds.
“We live pretty much in the dark, not knowing what’s coming and not being able to respond,” he says.
“It was just constant questions. Do you know something Do you know something And most of the time it was, ‘No, we really have no idea what’s going to happen.’ “
Pike doesn’t anticipate a huge restaurant rush, but rather a more cautious comeback.
“I think people are still a bit hesitant to date a lot of people they don’t know, but it will definitely connect a few people who have wanted to hang out together over the past few months. ”