STRATFORD -- A Stratford company that operates several bars and restaurants in the city has implemented stricter rules about who can dine there to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Old Man and Son restaurant only allows dine-in customers if they live within a 50-kilometre radius. They check people's ID to make sure only locals are coming in.

The rule started back in June, but the restrictions started to loosen as things opened up in the province. Since cases have started to rise again across Ontario, they brought back the rule last week.

The company that owns the restaurant, Ramshackle Industries, also owns three other restaurants and bars in Stratford.

Owner Jessie Votary said it comes down to the safety of staff and guests, adding that they're a tourist destination that would typically embrace out-of-towners. However, they need to sacrifice that revenue to keep the infection rate low.

In a typical summer before the pandemic, the owners said more than 75 per cent of the people coming to the restaurants are tourists, often from Toronto or the United States.

"The reality is we're in the hospitality business and we want to take care of people," Votary said. "It's not a joy for us to say no. But, we want to consider our community, our staff and our guests. We don't want to be a point of contact if someone contracts COVID and make sure we are helping to keep the curve flat."

Votary said they believe they're the only company with the 50-kilometre rule.

Customer Justin Shantz is happy about the restriction.

"Keep everything local, keep everything contained," he said. "That's kind of how we've been doing things in our household."

The Red Rabbit, which is owned by the same company, has even tighter restrictions. It's reservation-only and anyone who isn't a regular is asked for ID to make sure they're local.

"We ask if they're font-facing workers, we ask if they wear masks regularly, we ask if they keep to their social circles," co-owner Dan Moran said.