Restaurants struggling with ban on indoor dining this long weekend

WatchRestaurants are feeling the impact of the recent indoor dining ban this long-weekend, on what would traditionally be a busy one.

Restaurants are feeling the impact of the recent indoor dining ban this long-weekend, on what would traditionally be a busy one.

The health orders were a shock to many and some restaurants are still reeling.

Pirate Chips and their famous deep-fried Nanaimo bars have been a main-stay in Nanaimo’s restaurant scene for years.

With the pandemic hurting business, they decided to shut for two months during their traditional quiet time. They reopened March 12 only to have the province shut down in-restaurant dining just over two weeks later.

“As much as our customers are doing for us and our local are trying to support us it’s not enough. We’re barely breaking even on a busy day,” said Chantel Craven, Pirate Chips general manager.

They have patio space and are providing take-out but it’s not enough and they say the lack of notice before the provincial order came into effect only made their problems worse.

“It’s Easter weekend. People eat a lot of fish. We’ve bought extra stock thinking that we’re going to be busy and now we can’t even have our inside. It’s take-out and it’s hard,” said Craven.

Also in downtown Nanaimo, The Breakfast Nook is also seeing a big drop in business.

“To last weekend even, 75 per cent for sure,” said Carrie Williams, owner of The Breakfast Nook.

Business is down even though they’ve been remaining open for take-out or service on their patio.

“We have people who will bring their blankets and sit out here and have breakfast but as you can see this would be a crazy busy time right now and we’ve got nobody,” said Williams.

Williams said she’s had to lay off staff she’d just hired and she’s hoping the restaurant will be able to survive without tapping into government assistance.

“I’m hoping that three weeks is only three weeks and I really really hope that it does not extend,” said Williams.

Back at Pirate Chips, they worry the pandemic, could spell their end.

“It’s hard to see a business that’s been around for 17 years struggle so much that’s a part of Nanaimo and a big part I think of all our lives,” said Williams.

Pirate Chips has tapped into government assistance and is looking at applying for more hoping that will help them sail through the storm.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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