“What else can we do to stay open?” : Windsor restaurant manager feels defeated by COVID-19 restrictions

The general manager of a restaurant in Windsor said she felt “defeated” by the return of restrictions on the size of indoor gatherings.

The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases is behind the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s decision to once again limit the size of gatherings. The regulations come into effect on Friday.

As of Monday, there were 518 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex; the health unit reported 187 new cases that day. A daily epidemiological summary report from Public Health Ontario showed a 40.7% increase in cases in the region between the weeks of November 20-26 and November 26-December 26. 2, one of the highest case rates in the province.

At Windsor’s restaurant, the Grand Cantina, the restrictions mean occupancy will be capped at 20 people – bars and restaurants are limited to 50 per cent capacity – and bar seating will not be available, the city said on Monday. General Manager Jennifer Pertras.

“The numbers are high,” she said. “They’re going to keep getting stoned.”

“It’s cold and flu season, it’s going to continue,” Pertras said. “All we can do is keep following the rules, which we do. Everyone washes their hands a thousand times a shift.”

“We never take our masks off. We wear safety glasses at the table again. It’s just very redundant at this point.”

Pertas said she doesn’t see a reason for some of the restrictions, given that unvaccinated people are already barred from entering bars and restaurants in Ontario.

“If you don’t want to be vaccinated…it’s your choice. [The] the government has decided that the consequences of this decision are that you cannot enter here,” she said. “If you are, great, let’s move on, open the doors, do our job. I want to keep wearing the mask, but how can we not serve someone in this bar when we are vaccinated and wearing masks?

“What else can we do to stay open? »

In a Tuesday interview with CBC Radio Windsor MorningWindsor Regional Hospital’s chief of staff, Dr Wassim Saad, said he did not fully agree with the new regional measures.

Saad said while he understands they are likely to protect health resources, he doesn’t think those who are vaccinated and doing their part should face the same limitations as others.

“I just don’t think there has been enough effort to enforce the current rules that we have,” he said.

“Obviously these kinds of restrictions are meant to protect our health care resources, I just wish it was done in a more targeted way.”

“I just prefer to postpone it”

The new restrictions also impact live music in the region.

Shawn Bentley, lead singer and guitarist of Sarnia band Johnny Deerest, says the band has canceled an upcoming show at Windsor’s Phog Lounge on December 17 because traveling to perform live is simply not possible under the rules.

“We were also bringing in another group from Sarnia,” Bentley said. “We were bringing down Jacob Barber and the Melody Machine.”

The band is not playing

New capacity limits in bars are forcing band Johnny Deerest to cancel their upcoming show in Windsor. Band members say it’s not worth it. 0:31

The new restrictions would limit Phog Lounge audiences to around 30 people, Bentley said, adding there were seven members between the two groups.

“We would play for around 20 people,” he said. “To drive two, two and a half hours there with two bands, seven people, play for 20, I’d rather just put it off until it wears off.”

Johnny Deerest bassist and backing vocalist Jennifer Brace said she was worried about whether venues would book them again in the future.

“I want them to reschedule us,” she said. “You’re worried about that, because we had to cancel.”

And then, of course, there are concerns about catching the virus itself.

“It means isolation again,” Brace said. “Music is our source for many things, whether it’s being at home listening to records or going out.”

“We just saw the Sadies perform on Saturday night, and it was really good to watch a band live,” she said. “Being isolated hurts.”

“Not being able to perform, not being able to go out and see live music, it’s damaging. I really believe that.”

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