PEI

Some seasonal restaurants adapting to open on P.E.I.

Many of P.E.I.'s dairy bars and drive-in restaurants are not open for the season yet, but those that have opened have had to make adjustments to adapt to public health restrictions. 

Some Island dairy bars and drive-in restaraunts are open, with adaptations

Alex's Ice Cream in Summerside, P.E.I., opened the drive-thru portion of its business on April 23. (Alex's Ice Cream/Facebook)

Many of P.E.I.'s dairy bars and drive-in restaurants are not open for the season yet, but those that have opened have had to make adjustments to adapt to public health restrictions. 

Alex's Ice Cream in Summerside, P.E.I., had originally planned to open on March 19, but delayed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drive-thru window portion of the seasonal restaurant opened on April 23.

"It has been a little bit crazy," said Angela Waite with Alex's Ice Cream.

"We opened on Thursday with our drive-thru option only and we've been serving some tasty treats since then."

Cars were lined up during the opening weekend at Alex's Ice Cream in Summerside, P.E.I. (Alex's Ice Cream/Facebook)

Waite said the drive-thru will allow customers to stay in their vehicles. She said they have been able to serve customers quickly, with an average under two minutes per car.

"The response has been great," said Waite. "We've had lineups every single day." 

'Don't know if crazy would describe it'

Wanda Ching, manager at Gillis' Drive in Restaurant in Montague, said opening last Friday was different from past years.

"If I had one word to describe it, I really don't know if crazy would describe it," Ching said.

Ching said it was a different kind of crazy from last year because of adaptations in the workplace needed to meet public health standards. They have blocked off every other parking spot to allow for more physical distancing as the staff bring food out to the vehicles.

'We are in and out so much that, some days, we don't even have a chance to talk to each other,' says Wanda Ching, manager at Gillis' Drive In Restaurant. (Gillis' Drive In Restaurant/Facebook)

Customers can also call in orders ahead of time and are encouraged to move on once their food has arrived to make space for others.

She said the phone line is so busy that they have had to limit phone-in orders to before 5 p.m.

The dine-in area and washroom are also closed off to the public, with only staff allowed inside.

"We have two cooks in the kitchen, which are far enough apart," said Ching. "We do have three girls out front but we are in and out so much that, some days, we don't even have a chance to talk to each other."

Waite, at Alex's Ice Cream, said they will be taking it a day at a time as the staff and customers adjust to the new normal.

"We do rely on the support of our local economy so I think as long as everybody wants ice cream, we're going to be here and we are going to be ready to serve it," Waite said.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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