January 20th, 2021

Restaurants taking different approaches to cope with virus

By Bobinec, Greg on March 19, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


As the City of Lethbridge works at reducing the amount of social activity and encouraging social distancing throughout the city, many restaurants, bars and fast-food establishments are choosing different alternatives to work around the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some local restaurants such as Firestone Restaurant and Bar have made the proactive choice to put the community and their staff safety first, and have closed their restaurant until further notice.

“We feel it is our responsibility to our guests and community to do our part in encouraging social distancing and taking preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” says Jeff Gliege, Firestone Restaurant and Bar owner. “We anticipate the closure will be short term, but as we have all experienced, this situation evolves rapidly and we will provide updates as new information arises.”

Other restaurant and pubs are taking advantage of food delivery systems and pick-up orders to keep some cash flow in their business, while respecting social distancing. Honkers Pub, along with other businesses have taken the push for delivery or pick-up orders only by offering discounts for people who place an order by telephone or pick up. While following health and safety standards set by Alberta Health Services, many food businesses such as Honkers have issued statements regarding their continued work to prevent the spread through their services.

“Health and well-being of our guests and staff members is our number one concern and we are taking actions to ensure your continued safety during this time of uncertainly,” says Vicki Vanden Hoek, owner of Honkers Pub and Eatery. “We are sanitizing regular points of guest contact, frequent hand washing by our staff members in enforced.”

Boston Pizza announced on Wednesday they will also be only doing takeout or delivery orders, as they will also be offering 15 per cent off orders that are to go.

Some restaurants such as Two Guys and a Pizza Place have not yet completely closed their sit-down part of their restaurant, but have limited the number of guests allowed in the dining area by half, allowing social distancing, while enjoying some time out. Although some sit-down options are available, limited seating may result in longer wait times or full capacities.

Fast-food services across the country have been taking the initiative to encourage people to order online or by going through their drive-through. Starbucks, Tim Hortons and McDonald’s have all taken the initiative to remove or prevent people from using their in-house seating to stop large gatherings and control their environment more.

“The health and safety of our community is our top priority. We also recognize our role in helping to feed families. With that, effective today, we will close restaurant seating areas, PlayPlaces, self-service beverage bars and kiosks,” says a statement from McDonald’s Canada.

Families throughout Lethbridge still have a number of options when it comes to eating out, whether it is picking up food and bringing it home, ordering it through various delivery sites, or having a night out in a sit-down restaurant that is practising social distancing and limiting their number of guests.

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John P Nightingale

Perhaps McDonald’s might in their quest to protect the health of the public, consider installing functioning hand sanitizer stations. Same for Safeway. The lack of such basic devices is quite appalling.