St. James ice cream shop reopens for unconventional season during COVID-19 shutdown

Sargent Sundae reopened for business this season a little later than usual and in an unconventional way on Sunday.

Sargent Sundae is sure sign of spring for some Winnipeggers despite pandemic

A lineup outside Sargent Sundae on its reopening day of the season. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A popular ice cream shop in Winnipeg's St. James neighbourhood is reminding customers to stay apart while waiting in line its first day this season.

Sargent Sundae reopened for business, serving up cones, flurries and shakes in an unconventional way on Sunday.

It's a little warmer on opening day than previous years, as it's come later than usual, said Andrew Dusessoy, the shop owner.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial public health orders in place shut down non-essential businesses and limit public gatherings. Restaurants and bars were directed to close, as of April 1, with the exception of take-out and delivery service. 

Businesses that continue to operate must ensure patrons can maintain separation. The orders were extended last week, and are currently set to expire on May 1.

Stickers stuck on the ground outside the shop on Portage Avenue mark every two metres so people know where to wait while keeping their physical distance.

"It's the best place in the city for ice cream," said Brad Goodman, who made a pit stop while cycling past the dozens lining up.

Brad Goodman is ready to devour his first Sargent Sundae purchase of the season. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The shop typically opens its doors so customers can enter the establishment to check the menu, place their order and wait for pickup.

Now they are being told to stay outside, and attendants are working from inside.

"People love it. They like the idea that we can meet them at one door and drop the ice cream off at another door, no contact with anything at all," Dusessoy said.

"I don't think people have a problem with that right now. It's still been pretty quick, and everything's been going not too bad," Dusessoy said.


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