Village Biergarten in St. Jacobs installs domes for COVID-safe winter dining
‘You are safely confined with your social bubble inside of our dome,’ says Rob Brown
As colder weather moves in, the Village Biergarten in St. Jacobs is getting creative with its outdoor dining plans.
General manager Rob Brown said they have installed four domes on their outdoor patio, and will install another four shortly — bringing domed seating capacity of 64.
"The domes are quite popular in the Scandinavian countries … they have the domes to allow people to enjoy dining out or entertainment throughout the colder weather," Brown told CBC News.
"We've seen them pop up in New York City, there are, I think, one or two places in Toronto that are doing something similar, and we just thought, why not St. Jacobs?
"You are safely confined with your social bubble inside of our dome and it allows us to have some extra seating in the cold weather," Brown added.
'Safety is our utmost concern,' Brown says
Each dome can hold up to eight people, but Brown said there will be no mixing of social bubbles allowed.
"Safety is our utmost concern, especially with the current pandemic … I would never invite any of my staff to seat different social bubbles in the same dome," Brown said.
"We've all been instructed to keep a small social bubble ...so we encourage you to book the dome with people who are already in your social bubble. If we have two couples for instance that wanted to be inside of a dome, we would not allow that. You have to be within your social bubble."
Each dome can be booked for two hours at a time but patrons are only allowed an hour and 45 minutes. The rest of the booking time is spent cleaning and santizing the space for the next group.
"After each use, they will be sanitized top to bottom inside, and the table tops, the benches, all that stuff will be sufficiently sanitized," Brown explained.
Domes — a hit with patrons
The first four domes were installed last week and were put to use last weekend.
"People are extremely excited, very, very intrigued by the idea," Brown said.
"It's going over quite well and … we're almost fully booked for the month of October in the four domes that we've already erected."