Companies on Prince Edward Island are preparing for another potential slump in sales as stricter COVID-19 restrictions come into effect on Saturday morning.
Daniel Good, a manager at the Charlottetown location of Piatto Pizzeria, said the new capacity limits in restaurants will impact both staff and customer experience. He said that Earlier this week when the tables in the restaurant were limited to 20 people, Piatto saw a “sharp drop” in bookings.
“It’s just the time of year, isn’t it? Large groups usually come to our Christmas parties and employee events and the like,” Good said.
The Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced the new restrictions at a public health briefing Friday afternoon. From 8 a.m. on Saturday, the capacity in public spaces such as retail stores, gyms, theaters and Vax-Pass events will be reduced to 50 percent.
There is a new limit of 10 people at a restaurant table, and companies must set up tables a minimum of two meters apart.
Well said, as hard as it is to hear these restrictions, he understands why they are being implemented.
“We understand that Heather Morrison is doing what is best for us and trying to think long-term and protect PEI and everyone in it,” he said.
In a statement released Friday evening, the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce said its members find the new COVID-19 restrictions “regrettable and frustrating”.
“We understand that these balanced decisions were necessary in order to be one step ahead of the Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading in our region,” said Chamber CEO Robert Godfrey in the statement.
“While reduced capacity is not ideal, we are relieved to see that businesses can stay open while keeping the islanders safe.”
The chamber also encouraged islanders to shop locally whenever possible. According to the organization, island companies rely on income during the holiday season to survive the winter months.
“We will get through this together,” says the message.
“Big Business Impact”
Not all restaurants are concerned about how the new restrictions will affect business.
Melissa Murphy, a manager at Taste of India in Charlottetown, said the new COVID-19 rules wouldn’t have much of an impact on the restaurant as capacity was capped at 50 percent even before the restrictions were announced.
She said bookings have remained fairly stable despite the restrictions on how many people can sit together at the same table. According to Murphy, roadside collection, online ordering, and restaurant phone payments have become popular every time tighter restrictions were put in place.
“The diner was very busy when this happened,” Murphy said.
Nancy Quinn, owner of Seaside Books in Summerside, also said the new restrictions may not change the environment in their business significantly.
“It was pretty quiet in my shop,” said Quinn. “Really, it won’t question my surgery when it comes to keeping the numbers at 50 percent.”
However, Quinn is concerned that with new restrictions on staying at home more often, islanders are choosing to buy books online from major retailers rather than local bookstores. Quinn said she offers roadside pickup, but it’s been a long time since anyone placed such an order.
“It’s going to have a huge impact on the business for sure,” Quinn said.