Northern Ontario restaurants get go-ahead to open indoor dining
SUDBURY -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Monday morning that 24 public health regions in Ontario will enter Stage 3 on Friday morning, which means restaurants will be able to offer more than just patio, take out and delivery service as of July 17.
Fionn MacCool’s has been welcoming guests to its patio for several weeks now, and staff say even though they can only operate at 50 per cent, it’s been busy.
"It’s been awesome and very refreshing to be able to interact with guests again and welcome them on the patio," said Bev Wills, general manager of Fionn MacCool’s in Sudbury.
Wills says the indoor dining area is all ready to go.
"We’ve been working on that all along because we knew that it was going to happen," said the restaurant manager. "Tables are set, staff is in place and we’re excited."
Staff say those who choose to dine inside the restaurant will see people doing a variety of different jobs.
"The servers are going to try to not handle the dirty plates and cutlery, and that kind of thing. You’re going to see individual food runners. You’re going to see people doing expo and take out specifically so that there’s little chance for cross-contamination, so the person serving your food will always have clean hands," said Wills.
One locally-owned restaurant said over the past few months, it’s been difficult having to cope with losing over 70 per cent of its sales and having to cut staff drastically.
The owner of Bella Vita Cucina, Filippo Rocca, said he is hopeful phase 3 will allow him to operate at 50 per cent or higher.
"I have four different areas in the restaurant. It’s not one open hall, so I would still have to reduce my seats by probably down from 75 to 32 or 35. It’s not going to be fully open, but if we need to do that, for now, to stay safe we will do that, but it would be a big step forward," said Rocca.
Restaurant owners say they are waiting to hear more details about capacity limits.