The Riverhouse is one of the many establishments affected by the new COVID restrictions on bars, pubs and restaurants. (Claire Palmer photo)

Local businesses adapt to new restrictions

Taps and the Riverhouse have both had to scale back operations due to new restrictions

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the province, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced new orders to help curb the spread in bars, pubs and restaurants.

The new restrictions mandate that alcohol sales must cease by 10 p.m. each night and that these venues must close by 11 p.m., unless they are providing a full-meal service.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth added on, expanding fines for those establishments not adhering to the restrictions to include bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

While customers were already scarce during the pandemic, bars and alcohol primary establishments in Golden have once again been forced to adapt.

“Every time we try to predict something, it doesn’t turn out how we thought,” said Cruz Chiappa, manager of Taps.

“I don’t know what the winter will bring. The off-season will be a bit challenging at times, but I think we’ll get through fine.”

According to Chiappa, the new regulations are already in line with what the bar and restaurant was doing, with their kitchen closing at 10 most nights anyways.

READ MORE: Golden restaurants set to reopen in line with provincial guidelines

Chiappa says they had a busy summer, as more people felt comfortable enjoying a meal on their patio as COVID numbers eased for the warmer months.

But he says they’ve returned to what it was like when they initially reopened after the first wave of the pandemic.

Down the road, the Riverhouse is also learning to adapt to the new restrictions rolled out two weeks ago, with similar struggles in terms of numbers of customers since the new curfew.

“Seventy-five per cent of our sales are after 10 p.m..What bar closes at 10 p.m.?” said Chris Soper, owner of the Riverhouse.

“We’re not on the main street so we don’t get people driving by and seeing us and walking in, we get return customers and that’s been our base for 15 years.

“Realistically, if this keeps going, we’ll have to shut down, because there’s no point.”

Soper says he believes that bars are getting picked on unfairly due to the larger gatherings that are happening in the Metro Vancouver area.

“More people go through Rona in a day than come here in a month and after 10 p.m., I’m looking for maybe 20 people on a good day,” said Soper.

“I don’t see what the difference is at 10 p.m. or 2 a.m. if you’re running the same restrictions. We don’t get thousands of people.

“The government wants to crack down on big nightclub rage style places and we’re getting lumped in with that.”

At Taps, Chiappa says customers have been respectful of the restrictions all summer and that he hopes everyone continues to do their part to help flatten the curve.

“If people follow the rules and keep sanitizing and wearing masks when necessary and keeping distance when possible, I think we’ll get through this,” said Chiappa.

“I understand where the restrictions are coming from. But we don’t know how long they’ll continue for, so we have to take it day by day.”

Neither establishments have plans to winterize their patios, with Soper saying the cost outweighs the benefits.

Chiappa says that their roadside patio typically closes at the end of September or early October, and that won’t change this year.

Both the Riverhouse and Taps are emphasizing their kitchens right now. Both will also continue their sanitizing and other health guidelines to keep their customers safe, with Soper saying they’re going to have to revarnish their tables due to the amount of sanitizer they’ve been applying.


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