Local bars, restaurants scramble to adjust to COVID-19 closure recommendations
Following a recommendation by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health to temporarily close dine-in restaurants on Monday, owners at both Windsor establishments are working out plans to cope with a quieter scene on St. Patrick’s Day.
“We have to figure something out. I’m going to put a plan together. We’re going to stay open,” says Vito Maggio, owner of Kildare House and Vito’s Pizzeria.
While the celebrations that often go along with St. Patrick’s Day are a big money-maker for bars like Kildare House and Thompson House, Maggio says safety is always the top priority.
“St. Patty’s Day is a big day, but safety is the most important thing,” says Maggio. “We don’t want to put anybody in a position to get sick.”
Alex White, a manager at Thompson House, agrees.
“Instead of worrying about the financial side as much as what we’re going to make we’re thinking of staff and the city,” says White.
Despite the safety-first focus, the financial reality of the slowdown in economic activity will be felt soon enough.
Maggio says a plan is in the works to ease concerns of his employees.
“I have over 75 people working for me. They’re asking me, ‘What’s going to happen?’” says Maggio. “And I don’t have an answer right now.”
Maggio says for now, he’ll rely on delivery services like Skip The Dishes and Uber to get food to customers.
White says the focus will shift to takeout menus to pick-up the slack.
“We won’t be able to open the dining room, but we can still do a takeout menu where people come to the parking lot and we’ll run out the food for them,” says White.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit continues to monitor the COVID-19 spread. There remain no confirmed cases in the region and the health unit rates the COVID-19 risk as low for Windsor-Essex.