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Vancouver restaurant owner hopes B.C. will give industry notice before lifting COVID restrictions

Last Updated May 18, 2021 at 7:04 am PDT

(iStock photo)

With more talk of when restrictions on indoor dining might be lifted, restaurant owners are hoping for a head's up

Justin Tisdall owns Juke Fried Chicken in Vancouver and says the more notice the government can give the better

Many restaurants will need time to prepare for lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, says Vancouver business owner

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Restrictions on indoor dining in B.C. will stay in place after the upcoming May long weekend, but a gradual rollback could be possible in the coming weeks. However some restaurant owners are worried they might be put in a tough spot without enough notice to reopen.

Justin Tisdall owns Juke Fried Chicken in Vancouver and says restaurants need time to get back on their feet — and a week’s notice just won’t cut it for many eateries.

“Restaurants may have to reassess… we all have to order food, might have to train kitchen staff, you may have to get your Plexi[glass] back in place. There’s so many factors that go into reopening a dining room now with COVID restrictions that the more notice, the better because it’s not just like, ‘open your doors and start cooking.’ There’s so many things that go into that.”

Tisdall says his restaurant’s in a pretty good position since they’ve been doing takeout since the closure. However, his first concern is cleaning and sanitizing the space.

“We can do that as a staff, but you also need professional cleaners to come in. So I think that for us is issue number one, just to make sure it’s safe for people to come and sit in there again.”

Related Article: No changes yet to COVID restrictions, as B.C. records 1,360 cases over the weekend

Since Juke Fried Chicken has been able to do takeout throughout the pandemic, Tisdall says his restaurant is “really fortunate,” adding other restaurants might be in a very different situation.

“There’s certain restaurants that it’s going to be hard to open. Their staff thought they’d be closed for two weeks, and the now it’s been like six. If you open properly, people are clamouring to come out and go enjoy things again,” he says.

He says people who were laid off during this closure might have gone and found other jobs, meaning some restaurants will have to re-hire all new staff and re-train them as well.

“A week’s not enough time to train staff, give them food knowledge, give them beverage knowledge, hit them with all the safety protocols they need to now follow,” he says.

Tisdall notes it’s been tricky for food and beverage operators to navigate the pandemic, since things tend to happen at a moment’s notice.

“We don’t in the restaurant industry get a lot of information coming our way until it’s news already, so the more information we can get in advance… it just helps us open safely.”