Bonnie Liu, left, and Marijke Dubinsky outside the Bonnie Martin restaurant with take-out food. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Bonnie Liu, left, and Marijke Dubinsky outside the Bonnie Martin restaurant with take-out food. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Restaurants and pubs require takeout and patio dining support more than ever

Chemainus establishments coping with restrictions in different ways

The extension of restrictions until at least after the Victoria Day long weekend means restaurants and pubs in the area are going to be relying on public support more than ever during the next few weeks.

Restaurants with patios or decks are obviously in a better position to accommodate people for outdoor dining than those without a space that will require 100 per cent of their business to come from takeout.

The Bonnie Martin Restaurant is usually a very busy place, but without its trademark indoor dining, it’s been very quiet.

“It is tough,” conceded owner Raymond Liu.

Complying with all the regulations to such an extreme has been difficult for his business.

“They have all the numbers, they know what’s wrong,” Liu said.

“The cases are still going up. It’s nothing to do with the restaurants. If the cases drop, it means the restaurants. But it’s not.”

The elderly and handicapped who are among the most frequent patrons at Bonnie Martin’s are used to dining inside and it’s often an outing for them.

“They said, no, we don’t want to take out,” said Liu.

He’s not concerned about bridging the gap, but feels for others who might be in a worse position.

“We’re quite established,” Liu said. “For the young people starting a business, it’s going to be tough.”

Krystal Adams, executive director of the Chemainus Business Improvement Association, noted a patio grant has helped with a heater, umbrella or patio table and “a good few took advantage of that grant.”

The Sawmill Taphouse & Grill has added tables at the entrance to the restaurant to accommodate more guests for outdoor dining in addition to its regular patio space.

“Sawmill Taphouse & Grill is blessed to have amazing guests and amazing staff that continue to support us through this extremely difficult time,” noted general manager Sam Higgs. “In single family groups we have been so lucky to have guests come into our safe and healthy environment to enjoy a great meal and a great time with family.

”Our team continues to pivot and adjust to Provincial Health Orders, and whilst we respect the directives they have been extremely expensive and costly to the operation and staff. At times the directives have been offered with no or little time lines for us to adjust. We operate with perishable items and high labour cost. It has been really tough. We’re thankful to have the patios in place to help us through this round of restrictions.”

Sushi Kuni is in the second of a two-week closure to do renovations while Thai Pinto has been restricting diners, even without utilizing its patio. Nic’s Café has been reduced to just a few outside tables, but making the best of it.

A full list of restaurants and pubs, with contact numbers, has been published in recent editions of the Courier for the convenience of customers.

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The Willow Street Cafe has the luxury of a large deck that’s a popular place to be on a sunny day during the COVID restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Willow Street Cafe has the luxury of a large deck that’s a popular place to be on a sunny day during the COVID restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Tracy Berrow, a supervisor at the Sawmill Taphouse & Grill, at the extra outdoor patio space at the front of the restaurant. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Tracy Berrow, a supervisor at the Sawmill Taphouse & Grill, at the extra outdoor patio space at the front of the restaurant. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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