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New safety guidelines for bars and restaurants in Stage 3

Couples eating on the Plank's Patio
New safety guidelines for bars and restaurants in Stage 3
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Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux is a reporter and writer who lives close to the border of Oakville and Mississauga. He has lived in the GTA for his entire life and is interested in global events, politics and government. follow on twitter @TommyDesormeaux

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The province of Ontario announced today that there will be new safety requirements for bars and restaurants in Stage 3. These include keeping patrons seated during meals and maintaining client logs.

As Stage 3 begins across much of Ontario, there are new freedoms for people in public spaces. Restaurants and bars can now serve customers indoors. Groups of 50 people are now allowed in inside spaces, groups of 100 outdoors. Physical distancing measures are still in place as is Halton’s by-law requiring masks in most enclosed spaces.

 

“These tools and measures are absolutely critical to ensuring our province opens safely,” said Premier Doug Ford today at his daily COVID-19 update. “We’ve seen what happens if we don’t listen to the advice,” said the Premier, referencing the recent boom in case numbers in the U.S.

 

New safety measures

 

  • Customers have to remain seated for the entirety of their meals (other than to go to the bathroom)

 

  • Establishments must keep client logs for at least 30 days and be ready to disclose these logs if requested

 

 

 

Town response

This was good news to Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

“I welcome the Province providing further direction to restaurants in Oakville that will reduce close contact situations,” he said in a statement today. He pointed out that some restaurants in town have been collecting contact information since Stage 2 began. “In Halton Region’s latest COVID-19 Surveillance Report, our case and contact follow-up numbers are above the Provincial goals,” the statement continued.

 

Some restauranteurs however, feel that doing business in the COVID era can be very difficult.

Johnann is the manager at La Parisienne Crêperie, an institution in the Bronte. They have been operating a patio outside of their usual space and do not plan open up the inner restaurant any time soon. Serving indoors right now would mean less than 50% of their customers, so it just isn’t worth it.

“Our restaurant, you know, it’s a like a café in Paris, very small and cramped. It makes more sense to just keep serving people outside,” he says. Johann says that it can be very difficult operating a business during pandemic restrictions and with customers in a pandemic mindset.

 

“Every day we have some argument with someone who has a problem with some safety precaution,” he says. He says his staff needs some understanding and for customers to realize they are doing their best, observing all the health guidelines and that it can be difficult running a business right now. “We ended up putting up a sign the other day just telling people, what our rules are.”

Rob, one of the owner’s of the popular King’s Arms Pub off of Lakeshore agrees it’s tough right now. King’s Arms began to serve people inside when Stage 3 began but Rob says that few people are taking advantage of the new option.

“I can probably count on two of my hands how many people who have actually come inside to eat or drink,” he says. “I think people are too spooked. I can understand that, I actually just had twin boys a couple of months ago in the middle of the pandemic. So, I don’t want to be bringing anything home from here.”

King’s Arms observes strict rules for how patrons must act at the bar, which they communicate through their social media. Masks are mandatory if your dining inside and Rob says that  people have really had that drilled into their heads by the media.

“We are very lucky to still be here,” he says. “Most people have just been going to the patio which is great, it’s distanced, we extended it. A lot of people can sit there and enjoy themselves.”

The government of Ontario is continuing to monitor case rates and says that we may see these restrictions relaxed as time goes on. And, as always, remember to continue to physical distancing, wear a face covering when appropriate, wash your hands and stay home when ill.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TommyDesormeaux

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