‘We can hope for the best’: restaurants welcome diners at 50% capacity

Waterloo Region restaurants were able to welcome diners back to 50% capacity on Monday, and they hope this time they can stay open for good.

Staff at Kentucky Bourbon in downtown Waterloo said they were preparing and more than ready to welcome customers back to their restaurant.

Restaurants closed for in-person dining on January 5. Adam Cole, Kentucky Bourbon’s manager, said many employees are seasonal and only work during the warmer months, adding that they don’t have to reduce hours due to reduced capacity limits.

However, Cole was careful to be too optimistic.

“It feels like the last time,” he said. “I would feel nervous to stay like this, because the last time was also the last time. We can hope for the best, we can hope this will be the last time, but, you know, never say never.

Customers said they were happy to be back and soaking it up. The restaurant also offers a heated outdoor terrace.

The Play-A-Latte Café was also able to welcome customers back on Monday.

“It’s exciting,” said co-owner Ronak Patel. “We’ve had a lot of customers who have shown interest in booking their play dates, re-booking birthday parties.”

REOPENING OF INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT

Bingemans will offer plenty of indoor entertainment options when it reopens on Tuesday.

Owner Mark Bingeman said the repeated closures have had a huge impact on the industry.

“Hopefully at this point we will be open for the foreseeable future and not have to go back,” he said.

Anyone visiting an indoor entertainment venue will be required to show proof of vaccination and be screened for COVID-19. However, the province said companies will no longer need to contact the trace.

“It’s great that we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Bingeman said.

THEMUSEUM had to suspend the Unzipped exhibit when the province introduced tighter restrictions earlier this month, but people can now experience the Rolling Stones exhibit before it continues in late February.

Katelynn Dietrich said they were also able to offer additional programming that was discontinued due to the pandemic.

“We are delighted to offer these programs to enhance the visitor experience,” she said.

The next phase of the reopening plan is scheduled for Feb. 21, but the province could pause if COVID-19 trends don’t improve.

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