Many Castlegar restaurants are set to open up to in-person dining next week as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease slightly across the province.
Florio Vassilakakis, owner of The Nineteenth restaurant, said his operations will look slightly different when he opens up to dine-in customers on Wednesday, May 20.
“Our staff won’t be refilling any of our customers’ glasses of water anymore, especially since they’d have to touch them with their hands,” said Vassilakakis.
“We will also be printing out menus daily rather than sanitizing them on a daily basis. They will be disposable ones that we can either recycle or throw out in the garbage.”
While Vassilakakis said using disposable menus will cost the restaurant slightly more in the short term, he said it will give his customers ease of mind when they are dining.
Regularly sanitizing tables, chairs, the POS system and employees’ hands in the restaurant will also aim to reduce the threat of COVID-19.
Customers will also be able to sanitize their hands before they enter the restaurant.
Vassilakakis said he will make sure people are staying at their own tables while dining.
“There might be a table of friends a person hasn’t seen in a long time across the room. Will they be going across the room to have a conversation with them? Will people that are more boisterous sit at other tables to say hello to people and have a beer?” said Vassilakakis.
“These are things that can’t happen and won’t be permitted to happen.”
Cartwrights Pub owner Steve Cartwright said he’s also taking a number of safety precautions before his restaurant opens up to in-person dining on Tuesday, May 19.
“We will making sure everyone is six feet apart from one another when they dine,” said Cartwright.
“We’ll also be using disposable salt and pepper and ketchup packets.
There will also be a 50-person capacity at the restaurant to start off.
Ray Rowe, manager at The Bombi in Castlegar, said he has one unique solution as his restaurant opens up to dine-in customers on June 1.
“We’re going to be putting plexiglas in between our booths,” said Rowe.
“That way we can utilize them without the physical distancing.”
Letting administrative staff in restaurants work remotely and eliminating in-staff meetings are other precautions the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association asks restaurants to take as they begin to open up for dine-in customers.
Vassilakakis said he has a clear message for dine-in customer who don’t follow the new rules at his restaurant.
“If people aren’t abiding by the physical distancing rules or if they show any signs of COVID-19, flu or a cold, we’re going to ask them to leave,” said Vassilakakis.
“At the end of the day, it’s incumbent on us to provide a safe environment for people to dine in.”
Castlegar News will be compiling a list of all the local restaurants opening to dine-in customer over the next few weeks.