'It’s like we’re on parole, we’ve been let out': Saskatoon restaurants, bars welcome back customers
SASKATOON -- After months of being closed due to the COVID-19 public heath order, restaurants and bars can officially reopen in Saskatchewan.
Under the third phase of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, restaurants, bars, tattoo shops, gyms and places of worship were permitted to reopen on Monday.
“In a lot of ways, it feels like we’re opening for the first time,” Ryan Grills, co-owner of the Yard and Flagon, told CTV News.
“We’ve been scrambling, running around, making sure we’re doing all the appropriate cleaning and everyone’s appropriately distanced.”
Under Phase Three rules, restaurants can only operate up to 50 per cent capacity. Tables must be two meters apart and a maximum of six people can sit at one spot. Recreation areas such as dance floors and pool tables must remain closed.
Rick Stolz was one of the first customers at the Yard and Flagon, excited to get his first pint at a bar in months.
“It’s like we’re on parole, we’ve been let out,” Stolz said, laughing at a table with his friend.
“It’s awesome, it’s great.”
Grills said the biggest challenge in reopening is not being able to give his regular customers a hug or handshake.
“Everyone’s been cooped up, and wants to hug, show the love and appreciation,” Grills said.
And while more businesses can reopen, some are opting to hold off. .
And while more businesses can reopen, some are opting to hold off.
Grassroots Restaurant Group — which owns Ayden, Avenue, and Sticks and Stones — plans to gradually reopen, starting with Sticks and Stones on Wednesday.
“If we open up all four restaurants today I don’t think we’re gonna have a huge influx of guests I think people are going to come back slowly,” Chef Dale MacKay said.
Taste Restaurant Group, which owns UNA pizza + wine, Picaro, Bar Gusto and Cohen's Beer Republic, announced the soonest one of its restaurants will be opening is the week of June 22.
In a Facebook post, the group said Una will be the first of the four restaurants to reopen, with Cohen's and Picaro to likely reopen in August..
Under Phase Three rules, restaurants can only operate up to 50 per cent capacity and recreation areas such as dance floors and pool tables must remain closed.