New regulations, protocols as restaurants, bars re-open in Ontario
Physical distancing measures, time limits will be implemented
As most areas of the province move into phase two of Ontario's re-opening plan on Friday, restaurants will be implementing a number of new protocols and procedures designed to keep diners and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There's quite a lot of new regulations for … for our staff," said John Murray, owner of Red Lion Smokehouse on Cumberland Street in Thunder Bay, which plans to open its doors to customers on Friday. "But there's also some new responsibilities for the guest as well. We are going to have to gather contact information time just for traceability for the health units if they do require that."
That means Red Lion customers will need to go through a bit of a screening process when they arrive, Murray said.
In addition, all dining will take place on Red Lion's patio; an additional pop-up patio is also being built, to provide more space for customers.
Customers will be required to stay six feet apart, Murray said, and they'll have a 90-minute dining window.
"One of the ... rules and regulations is that guests don't linger," Murray said, adding that reservations will also be required, and walk-in dining won't be permitted. Groups will be limited to six people, as well.
Takeout and delivery will still be available, Murray said, and virtual events like trivia nights will still take place.
"We're all very excited downtown to be reopening and welcoming guests again," Murray said. "I think it's going to be a great day for fun around the province."