It's hard to say what reopening will actually look like in the Canadian provinces. Alberta's restaurant reopening date of Thursday, May 14, is looming in the near future. On this day, businesses within the province will begin to slowly and cautiously reopen. While there are some rules in place, many are still confused about what the reopening of Alberta restaurants will look like.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently announced that the province would begin a multi-phase "relaunch strategy."
This includes parks opening up hiking and camping to all locals once again.
While Thursday, May 14, is quickly approaching, it's unclear what exactly we can expect.
In particular, people in the restaurant industry are unsure of what they can and cannot do when that day comes.
Narcity spoke with Mark von Schellwitz, the vice-president of western Canada for Restaurants Canada about what this would look like.
During the interview, von Schellwitz expressed his excitement about restaurants reopening their doors.
Unlike Calgary's mayor who thinks this is all happening really early, the vice president told Narcity that “partial reopening cannot come soon enough.”
He noted that many businesses across the province have been struggling since the closures.
While protecting the health and safety of both the staff and guests has always been a priority for the restaurant industry, von Schellwitz says there are still some questions that have been left unanswered as to how health and safety measures will be carried out.
To start, businesses will be working with a 50% capacity.
For businesses that have a large number of customers come through on a Friday or Saturday evening, this could be discouraging as only half the revenue will be made.
The floor plan, as well, will have to change. Since each establishment is different, this 50% capacity will look different.
Prior to the immediate closure of all restaurants, some businesses took this 50% capacity as opening only every second table.
There are also some questions regarding what new cleaning, physical distancing, and personal hygiene protocols will be in place.
Personal proactive equipment is an option says von Schellwitz, although, he's still unsure on what exactly that means for the restaurant industry.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be medical masks. I know some people have asked about cloth,” said von Schellwitz.
“I know there is a concern about how much PPE is out there.”
Right now, the biggest concern with business owners is how they can make sure they are exercising protocol but still making revenue.
“We are a resilient industry,” said von Schellwitz. "Some think there is customer demand and others are not too sure as there might be fear out there."
von Schellwitz stated that owners must consider how many staff members come back, how interactions with guests will look like, if they can switch to reservation only, and what personal hygiene measures need to be put in place.
Questions like the ones discussed with Narcity have been brought up with officials including the Alberta premier.
Everyone is hoping to get answers ahead of the reopening date.