Breweries gear up to welcome customers back inside
VANCOUVER -- CTV News has taken a look inside two Vancouver breweries as they prepare to reopen their doors to customers this week, when B.C. enters phase two of reopening.
Parallel 49 in East Vancouver has completely reconfigured its restaurant to meet physical distancing requirements. It used to have a multiple long tables, enough to seat 156 people. Now, there’s just one table with seats in groups.
“Right now, we’re down to groups of four so we can keep the six feet or two metres of physical distancing, but we’ve designed a barrier system so that we can hopefully seat everybody next to each other,” co-owner Mike Sleeman told CTV News.
The barrier system is a removable Plexiglass screen that will be put on top of the table between groups of people to keep them separate.
Plexiglass is also up to separate servers and customers at the bar, and there are arrows on the ground showing one-way walking.
“You line up and order your beer, the bartender pours your beer on the backside of the Plexiglass then sets it down on the bar, you take it and you follow the one-way traffic around to where you’re sitting,” Sleeman said. “We’re going to take it slow and make sure everybody knows the rules.”
Steamworks in Gastown is also planning to open its patio on Wednesday, but with a much smaller number of customers than normal.
“We’re probably going to be around 40 per cent – 35, 40 per cent – by the time you do the spacing table to table,” said Carl McCreath, president of restaurant operations at Steamworks.
The brewery can normally seat 750 people inside, with a number of different levels and rooms. If opening the patio goes well, McCreath is hoping to start opening other parts of the restaurant in the coming days.
“It’s mixed emotions,” McCreath said. “I’m a little scared because I don’t know if people are going to show up, I’m excited to have some of our staff working, and I’m anxious about how the business is going to run.”
WorkSafeBC has published protocols for restaurants, pubs and cafes to follow for phase two. Every employer needs to develop a safety plan for staff and must not exceed 50 percent of their usual patron capacity at one time. But, businesses don’t need an official inspection or approval from WorkSafeBC in order to reopen.
“WorkSafeBC will not be reviewing or approving the plans of individual employers, but in accordance with the order of the Provincial Health Officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite,” the website says.
McCreath believes it will be the public that will hold businesses to account.
“I kind of feel like the inspections will be the customers, between social media and dealing with the pandemic,” he said. “People are trusting you with their business. We need to do a good job.”