OTTAWA -- With COVID-19 cases climbing in Ottawa, Thomas Christie decided to temporarily close Milestones Grill and Bar at Lansdowne after a staff member tested positive for novel coronavirus.

"On Monday we received notification that one of our staff members had tested positive for coronavirus," says Christie. "They told us that we could continue operations as long as we sanitize the business thoroughly and continue maintaining our standards of barriers. So masks and sanitization."

The owner of Milestones Grill and Bar at Lansdowne Park says rather than risk the health of his employees and customers, he decided to shut his doors.

 "We agonized over the decision for quite some time," says Christie. "And we decided that we’d like to close to protect our guests and protect our staff."

Customers who were looking to have lunch here Saturday were disappointed. But they say they understand this is the new reality of the ongoing pandemic.

Serge Perras says, "For us it’s a mild inconvenience. But it's much better than getting people sick."

 Leanna Smith adds, "I think that restauranteurs are taking the necessary precautions to keep us safe. And as soon as somebody tests positive, they shut down."

 "It’s nice to see," says another customer at Lansdowne. "It’s nice that they’re taking care of their staff too, as well as their customers."

 Ottawa’s top doctor says restaurants aren’t to blame for the recent surge in COVID-19.

 "Forty percent of people aged 20 to 39 who became ill in recent weeks acquired COVID-19 while in close contact with someone outside their household," said Dr. Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, in a statement on Sept. 22.

"Common examples including indoor social gatherings such as parties, gatherings at cottages and airbnbs, and outdoor gatherings where people are close together."

New this week, a study from Restaurants Canada found 87 per cent of Canadians think restaurants are doing a good job keeping everyone safe.

 "Through investment in training and ensuring use of all necessary health and safety PPE, restaurants continue to provide safe spaces to enjoy meals with friends and family throughout the ongoing crisis," said Todd Barclay, Restaurants Canada President and CEO.

But Milestones is not the only restaurant with doors locked this weekend. Lieutenants Pump and The Elgin Beer Project are temporarily closed due to close contacts with confirmed cases.

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, signage was posted on their front doors citing close contacts with COVID-19 cases as the reason for the closures. 

Meantime, Christie is optimistic he will be able to reopen by next weekend, with additional safety provisions in place.

“As of right now we’re planning on reopening on Oct. 2," says Christie. "And only staff who provide us with a negative result will be back in the building."