OTTAWA -- The National Arts Centre's restaurant is temporarily closing its doors and laying off 20 staff members, as the new COVID-19 restrictions limit dining to patios only.

"The 1 Elgin restaurant" along the Rideau Canal will close its doors on Saturday, two weeks after Ottawa moved to a modified Stage 2 with COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and bars.

"With patrons only permitted to dine outside, we added outdoor heaters and blankets but the fall weather has not cooperated and our guests are now few and cold," said a memo to staff from NAC Food and Beverage General Manager Nelson Borges and Executive Chef Kenton Leier.

The "1 Elgin restaurant" has been open since June 29, including offering outdoor patio dining after Ottawa moved back to a modified Stage 2 on Oct. 10. The modified Stage 2 prohibits indoor dining at all restaurants and bars for at least 28 days.

"We made the tough decision to temporarily close our 1 Elgin restaurant as of this Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, until we can operate again under changed conditions that will create a positive experience to our patrons once again," said a memo.

"This decision was not taken lightly and will impact twenty people working at the restaurant who have been informed today they are temporarily laid off until we can resume our operations. This difficult decision means we will also close the Greenroom food service as of Friday."

The memo from Borges and Leier notes that while there were few tourists this summer and fall, "many locals and patrons came out to support us and enjoyed the culinary experience we offered."

"We had a better summer season than expected, with regular flow of patrons, some small weddings celebrations and our hugely successful Chef's Table series, produced by Bluesfest which featured a live musical performance with a floating stage."

 "The 1 Elgin restaurant" plans to offer online teaching classes and culinary events this fall.