With New Brunswick lifting provincial vaccination requirements at businesses like restaurants, gyms and salons at 12:01 Monday morning, it’s going to be a more “normal” day than many have seen since last summer.
“Proof of vaccination definitely limits the amount of customers we can host in an evening or in a day,” says owner Moe Arsenault.
“It’s been a challenge, as everything in COVID has been for everybody.”
Arsenault says he’s lost some regulars since proof of vaccination has been required at New Brunswick eateries in September.
“It has been a deterrent for some consumers, for sure,” he says.
Arsenault commends staff for adapting the bar’s longstanding seat-yourself style to one where patrons are asked to show their immunization records and ID before coming in — and says most customers have been patient and understanding of the process.
“We welcome everybody that we’re able to welcome,” Arsenault says.
“As long as they come in and be respectful of the rules that are in place, they can come in and enjoy themselves.”
When you picture the atmosphere of a sports bar in your mind, you likely see folks milling about, socializing amid a substantial crowd.
A lot of that will still be limited until March 14, when New Brunswick plans to lift all provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
Restaurants Canada says that’s good news for owners like Arsenault.
“It’s pure excitement,” says Luc Erjavec, Atlantic vice-president.
“We’re a social industry. People go to our businesses to socialize.”
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“If you have to sit down with your beer and wear a mask and you can’t go over to see the people at the next table and share some food and drink with them, that takes away a lot from our business,” Erjavec says.
He says he now hopes to see Premier Blaine Higgs and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell encourage residents to dine out at local establishments.
At Rocky’s, Arsenault says he’ll be welcoming them.
“We’ll try to get back to as normal as possible pre-COVID,” he says, “and just follow the rules that the government provides.”
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