Waterloo Region restaurants concerned about new provincial restrictions
WATERLOO -- Bars and restaurants in Waterloo Region are concerned about new restrictions put in place by the province to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Starting Saturday, any establishments selling food and drink in Ontario won't be able to sell alcohol after 11 p.m. and people won't be allowed to consume it after midnight. The businesses will need to close by midnight and stay closed until 5 a.m., except for takeout and delivery.
Workers are bracing for layoffs, while owners face the prospect of closing for good.
Kentucky Bourbon owner Adam Cole had to make last-minute changes on Friday because of the province's new drinking hours.
"I wasn't necessarily happy," Cole said. "But, I understand what needs to happen. It's what's best for the community."
The Uptown Waterloo restaurant usually stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends.
"It does mean that some people's hours will be cut," Cole said. "People will lose jobs likely."
Cole said he's also concerned about night clubs in the area.
"I have friends who run nightclubs and bars and it's absolutely going to kill them," Cole said. "After this weekend, they won't be open. Depending how long that goes for, they might not ever open again."
Ontario strip clubs, like Roxxanne's in Kitchener, have to close up shop at midnight Friday until further notice.
The Bauer Kitchen is part of a restaurant conglomerate run by the Charcoal Group. CEO Jody Palubiski said the new rules are a bit of a blow to the restaurant industry.
"Of course it all hurts," Palubiski said. "But, we are all in this together. I think it's the next logical step."
Cole said he's preparing for a Homecoming crowd this weekend.
"It would have been one of our best weekends," he said. "It's tough, but again, it is what it is."
Officials in Waterloo Region are reminding people not to go to large gatherings for Homecoming weekend to help slow the spread of COVID-19.