Sit-down dining gets a passing grade

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

An informal poll of a few Slave Lake restaurants last week revealed a range of experiences when it comes to the return to sit-down dining. It went from “really good,” to “very slow.”

As for the customer reaction to strict COVID protocols (which are a condition of being allowed to re-open), the range was not as great. It went from “some customers don’t want to do it,” to “everybody is very respectful.”

The overall impression from the interviews we did with managers is it is going reasonably well. Not “the way things are supposed to be,” exactly, but “there’s nothing to complain about.”

That was from a downtown restaurant owner, who said small numbers of people are coming to dine in. Another one in the downtown area said, “it’s been good.” Some people are sticking with takeout or delivery, he said, but others are putting up with the restrictions for the chance to sit down.

“People are slowly adapting,” said the manager of one of the hotel restaurants.

One thing becomes pretty obvious: the re-opening is no magic cure for a restaurant that wasn’t that busy to begin with. Some have their work cut out for them in that way, the same as they ever did. Others that were more popular are still.

“Great and fantastic,” said the manager of one of those, in response to the question “how’s it going?”

We are having a really good two weeks.”

The only drawback, he said, is dealing with grumpy people who don’t want to go by the COVID restrictions. But “it’s a tiny percentage,” he said.

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