While some restaurants call for COVID-zero, others welcome resumption of in-person dining

By Sharon Yeo

With hospitalizations remaining below 600, the province has proceeded with the first stage of easing restrictions, which includes the resumption of in-person dining.

The guidelines limit 6 individuals to a table from the same household or two close contacts for those living alone. Liquor service will end at 10pm, in-person dining will close by 11pm, and the establishment must collect contact information from one person in the dining party.

On Feb. 5, the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community wrote an open letter to government leaders asking for a COVID-zero plan and further financial provisions to assist the hospitality industry.

“Many of us are left with no other option than to re-open for dine in and put ourselves and our staff at increased risk of contracting Covid and spreading it to our loved ones and the community because the alternative of not opening is just as grave a predicament,” read the letter.

Riverside Bistro's winter igloos reopened on Feb. 8. (Instagram)

Riverside Bistro's winter igloos reopened on Feb. 8. (Instagram)

Since last week, a slew of restaurants announced re-opening plans. Many, such as Blue Plate DinerDeluxCentral Social HallFife and DekelTiffinXIX Nineteen, resumed in-person service on Feb. 8. Remedy locations and Sugar Bowl were busy on the first day welcoming back in-person customers.

Other restaurants have delayed their opening until later this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, including The Butternut TreeDOSCGuru, and Pampa. A couple are limiting in-person services even further – Filistix is only offering dine-in on Fridays and Saturdays, while Lux is only re-opening for the weekend.

The resumption of in-person dining also means outdoor patios can return. The winter igloos at Riverside Bistro have since re-opened, while Tiramisu Bistro’s new igloos can now be reserved. The courtyard at Little Brick is also open to patrons.

Similar to the case in November, when many restaurants voluntarily closed to in-person dining, some businesses have decided to remain on take-out and delivery models only. This includes Northern ChickenCartago and FleischJack’s Burger ShackThe Next Act/Meat/Pip, and The Nook.