The Osborne Bay Pub patio is a beautiful place to sit on a sunny day. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Osborne Bay Pub patio is a beautiful place to sit on a sunny day. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Local restaurants scramble to meet new regulations

Indoor dining off the table for the next three weeks at least

The light at the end of the tunnel for local pubs, restaurants and fitness facilities has suddenly gone a lot dimmer again for the next three weeks at least.

Just as small businesses in the Crofton, Chemainus and Saltair communities were seeing better days ahead from the hard knocks of COVID, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced new restrictions Monday that will be in effect until April 19.

All restaurant and pub facilities cannot serve the public indoors during this time.

Between the Osborne Bay Pub and liquor store in Crofton and the Chemainus Public Market, Patricia Berry and Tony van de Mortel employ 30 people.

“We’ll do what we can,” said Berry on the new regulations.

The Osborne Bay Pub will offer takeout and the patio is open.

The Chemainus Public Market has tables set up outside the Willow Street location for food and coffee.

“We are absolutely open – the cafe, the restaurant, the diner,” noted Berry. “You just can’t eat inside. We’re fully open for takeout.”

She added all COVID protocols are being followed to the maximum extent.

“What we need now to survive, we need local support,” Berry emphasized.

The Chemainus Theatre’s Playbill Dining Room had just reopened to the public for one weekend of dinners and accompanying piano music when the latest restrictions were unveiled.

“Yes, this will close the doors to the Playbill for minimally the three weeks,” noted Randy Huber, the theatre’s managing director. “It’s disappointing especially after a good response for the reopening weekend. It’s particularly tough for staff across the hospitality industry.”

The theatre is seeking opportunities to serve as a streaming venue for the Duncan Chamber of Commerce Black Tie Awards and some upcoming Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society concerts, for example.

Folks can check out Jonas Shandel on the Chemainus Theatre Festival stage. It will be live streamed and available Thursday, April 1 as well as April 3, 9 and 10. Tickets can be purchased at www.Chemainustheatrefestival.ca.

Streams are available for 24 hours starting at 2 p.m. on the day of the event. All events are about one hour.

Many people will remember Shandel from his performances as Johnny Cash in Ring of Fire and Million Dollar Quartet. He’s a multi-talented performer back from living in Germany and honing his music.

“The pivots continue,” summed up Huber.

Elsewhere, the Willow Street Cafe has a fabulous deck, as everyone knows, and staff hopes people will take advantage of that for food and coffee.

“Please be advised we can only have four people per table to avoid breaking the social distance rules,” a Willow Street Facebook post noted. “And when dining on our patio if the table is dirty, you must wait for our staff to clean and sanitize them before you can sit. We appreciate everyone for continuing to support us. Now let’s hope for some extended patio weather!”

The Saltair Pub has decided to close for the three weeks and will not offer any takeout service.

People are advised to check with their other favourite restaurants to see what is being planned during the next three weeks for takeout, delivery and outdoor dining where applicable.

Fitness establishments have also been heavily impacted by the latest regulations with only individual training allowed. Churches had been gearing up for Easter weekend services, but those have now been shut down.

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Patricia Berry of the Chemainus Public Market. Outdoor seating will be available for eating and coffee during the current restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Patricia Berry of the Chemainus Public Market. Outdoor seating will be available for eating and coffee during the current restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Playbill Dining Room at the Chemainus Theatre had only reopened for one weekend before being forced to close again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Playbill Dining Room at the Chemainus Theatre had only reopened for one weekend before being forced to close again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Theatre is still trying to find a way to get back into some kind of operation since the start of the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Theatre is still trying to find a way to get back into some kind of operation since the start of the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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