Restaurants close dining areas, shift to delivery during COVID-19 pandemic
OTTAWA -- At Pelican Seafood Market and Grill on Bank Street, it’s not business as usual.
The dining area at this popular neighbourhood restaurant is empty, as the province orders bars and restaurants to close in response to COVID-19.
For owner Jim Foster - this is an emotional time.
"Trying to talk about it without tearing up is really a challenge," Foster says. "It’s not about us; it’s about our big community. It’s a tough time."
Restaurants can continue to offer takeout and delivery.
Pelican’s market area will remain open and offer fresh fish and prepared foods. They are also hoping to start making deliveries as of Wednesday.
It’s a similar situation at restaurants throughout the city and the province as new, emergency measures come into effect.
In the Byward Market, usually busy lunch spots are empty, and will stay that way until at least the end of the month.
As COVID-19 continues to hit the service industry hard, Uber Eats has announced it is waiving delivery fees for independent restaurants.
Over in Little Italy, the Prescott Sports Bar and Restaurant is planning on rolling out new measures of its own.
The restaurant — a staple in the community — hopes to have deliveries going by Wednesday.
"We’ve had takeout food before but never delivery, this is our first delivery in 85 years and we’re setting that up now," said General Manager Philip Coates.
"I’ve created a take-and-bake menu for families, so for families 4-6, all of our pastas and pizzas, and meatballs, we’re going to have it delivered. Some of my servers will be delivering over the next couple of weeks to keep them employed," Coates said.
At Dirienzo Grocery & Deli — a local favourite for its sandwiches, pastas and desserts — they’re closing for the first time in more than 45 years in business.
"We try to eliminate this virus that’s going around and for us, it’s to keep the other people safe, keep our stuff safe and keep our customers safe," Owner Paolo Di Rienzo said. "It’s tough because we have never closed here, ever. For so many years, all the years we’ve been open, this is the first time we have to do something like this. We have the best clients in the world, so I think they will understand if we close, it’s because we really, really, really have to do it."