Many restaurants in N.S. hoping the first weekend in Phase 2 will be a big one
HALIFAX -- Many restaurants in Nova Scotia are hoping the combination of sunny, warm weather and Father’s Day crowds will mean a good first weekend kick-start for business during Phase 2 of Nova Scotia's COVID-19 reopening plan.
Indoor dining resumed on Wednesday, but at JJ’s Plant-Based Eats in downtown Sydney, N.S., they waited until Friday to reopen, to make sure they were ready to capitalize on the weekend crowds.
"One of the reasons we focused on opening for Friday this week, and into tomorrow on Saturday, was to kind of ramp up for today and tomorrow," said James MacDonald, a co-ownerof JJ's Plant-Based Eats.
Temperatures in Sydney were in the mid-20s Friday and warm, sunny weather is expected again on Saturday, along with Father’s Day on Sunday. MacDonald says the nice weather is an ideal one-two punch to kick-start his restaurant’s reopening with a big weekend of sales.
“It’s our first Saturday being open for a couple of weeks now and brunch was one of our biggest days prior to having to shut down. So, we’re expecting to be really busy," MacDonald said.
At Lebanese Flower in Sydney, N.S. - a family-owned Lebanese restaurant - they managed the recent lockdown thanks to takeout and delivery.
"It’s been hard with COVID, but the community has been really supportive," says co-owner Ray Kaseem.
Now, Lebanese Flower is preparing for more delivery orders on Father’s Day, while welcoming customers back into the dining room as well.
"With summertime, we depend also on tourists coming in. So, we want more people to come in," Kaseem says.
Michelle Wilson, the executive director of the Downtown Sydney Development Association, says she’s hoping for spin-off traffic from the restaurant crowds over the weekend - in a downtown that’s been quiet since the third wave of COVID-19 began.
"I’m going to say our restaurants will be very busy starting tomorrow, and patios will be full”, Wilson tells CTV Atlantic. "We’d like to invite people also to rediscover just how many shops and services we have downtown.”
Back at James MacDonald’s restaurant, which went into business just days before the Covid-19 crisis started in the Maritimes back in March 2020, they’re hoping all of the shutdowns and restrictions are behind them.
"People have been ready and wanting to get out of the house for a number of weeks," said MacDonald. "So, I think this could be the busiest Saturday. Not just for us here at JJ’s, but around town. I think you’re going to see a lot of people out.”