Some Ontario Restos & Businesses Are Looking To Keep COVID-19 Rules After They Are Lifted

Not everyone is ready to let go of vaccine certificates or capacity limits just yet.

Toronto Staff Writer
Some Ontario Restos & Businesses Are Looking To Keep COVID-19 Rules After They Are Lifted

COVID-19 restrictions are lifting across Ontario faster than some establishments anticipated, and not everyone is ready to get rid of them just yet.

On February 14, Premier Doug Ford announced that the timeline for Ontario to drop restrictions was being sped up, with an end to capacity limits and proof of vaccination.

Starting February 17, capacity limits and gathering restrictions will ease and allow spaces requiring vaccination proof to return to full capacity. Then, on March 1, if all goes to plan, proof of vaccination will no longer be required and all capacity limits will be dropped.

However, establishments will have the right to enforce vaccine certificates if they choose to do so, and some places are considering keeping those rules intact.

Businesses looking to keep COVID-19 restrictions

Bistro On Avenue co-owners Cindy Stern and Louis Nemes have decided to keep proof of vaccination in place. Stern told Narcity that it could remain this way for a few weeks following March 1.

The popular Toronto restaurant has only been open for takeout and delivery because sales weren't covering labour costs when they were open at a 50% capacity.

However, they plan to reopen for indoor dining at full capacity in early March while still enforcing vaccine certificates.

"We're going to be more comfortable keeping the vaccine passport in just for a few weeks or a month, just to see the comfort level of our customers," said Stern.

Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books bookstore in Waterloo, told Narcity they have decided to keep capacity limits of 50% in place for the time being to keep their staff and customers safe.

Brouse says the decision comes down to two reasons, although she clarifies that neither is a political stance.

One is that some of their staff are immunocompromised, and they want to keep their team and customers safe, and secondly that the store isn't in its busy season, so they have the financial ability to make that decision.

"The capacity limits are never really reached at this point in our season," said Brouse. "Our capacity right now is just slightly under 50% and has been, and I don't see that we'll really be changing that."

Undecided businesses

Ramshackle Industries owner Jessie Votary told Narcity that they are still in the midst of deciding what to do when it comes to enforcing vaccine certificates at their many restaurants in Stratford, including The Red Rabbit, Pollo Morta and others.

"The reality is we have not made a firm and final decision," said Votary. "Our government doesn't give us a lot of heads up every time they decide to change the rules."

Votary says they are "strongly considering" keeping vaccine certificates, but a more extensive conversation still needs to be had with staff and guests before they come to a conclusion.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Brooke Houghton
Toronto Staff Writer
Brooke Houghton is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada's Ontario Desk focused on celebrity news and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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