Restaurants change St. Patrick's Day plans in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark County ahead of move to yellow zone
Busl Cider in Mallorytown, Ont. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
BROCKVILLE -- With Leeds, Grenville and Lanark County moving into the "yellow-protect" zone on Monday, new restrictions will be in place for bars and restaurants during St. Patrick's Day week.
One outdoor event has already been cancelled in Mallorytown ahead of the status change under Ontario's COVID-19 reopening framework to keep people safe.
"We were calling it a Safe Patrick's Day event," said Andre Audet, owner of Busl Cider Brewery. "We were bringing in a musician and just going to have a good time."
"We decided to cancel it because the fairly strict protocol didn't really make it attractive and it was too risky for us to move forward with the event," Audet added.
Even though the county won't move into the yellow zone until Monday, Audet said the timing just wasn't right
"A lot of people were looking forward to this event and unfortunately they are a bit disappointed. We are disappointed, but it is what it is," Audet said.
He places the blame on people in the northern part of the county, like the recent outbreak in Mississippi Mills, for the numbers rising.
"It's very frustrating and maddening, right, that we are affected because of other people in other regions do not follow protocols," Audet said. "Its upsetting for the small business people that are struggling to survive."
"We are looped into an area that includes other areas that have higher cases," he added.
Audet said it has been a trying year at the brewery, with Busl known for its scenic views and live events, like bachelor parties, weddings and retirement parties.
"It's been very challenging. This is a brand new business. We've invested quite a bit on money here in the local community. We really thrive on the events where people come in and usually we can get 1,000 people through here on a weekend," Audet added.
"Busl has been known to be a great place to enjoy an afternoon cider and a lot of people miss it," Audet said.
"(Live events) is what makes the business fun. For us it's what makes this business thrive," Audet said. "We can't wait, and I think the community can't wait to get out and appreciate live events and hopefully that will come late this summer or in the fall."
Audet said Busl is still open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and appointments can be made during the week. Online orders are also accepted, and they will deliver to Ottawa and Kingston.
At Moose McGuire's in downtown Brockville, general manager Kellie Coughler says the new restrictions coming on Monday will change some St. Patrick's Day reservations.
"In green, I was doing 10 people per table and once we go to yellow we will have to go back down to six," Coughler said. "I will be going back on Sunday and calling everybody back and re-arranging the amounts at tables."
Coughler says the business has actually been following the yellow zone protocols anyway, even though they were in green zone for a month.
"We have been following the 11 o'clock protocol all the long. I just felt it was safer for patrons to keep everything going that we close at 11," Coughler said.
"I really value our customers and our staff and I want everybody to feel safe at Moose McGuires," she added.
"(The new restriction) doesn't come into effect until Monday, so I'm thankful for that," Coughler said. "I think everybody through COVID needs to kind of feel a little sense of normal and you know we didn't get to enjoy St. Paddy's Day last year, so we're doing a St. Practice Day today as a matter of fact and let people enjoy safely."
Live music will be playing Saturday night and Coughler said reservations have flowed in.
"All of our tables will be six feet apart, I have measures in place, I have a safety plan," Coughler added. "In the 6:30 time slot, I'm pretty full so I'm not taking any more reservations between the hour of 6:30 and 7:30."
While the news of more restrictions is discouraging, Coughler said it's all about teamwork.
"If we work together we're going to make this go away and really that's what we want to do," she added.
Something Audet agreed with.
"We're here to stay and I think we just have to be patient and fight through it," he said.
"I think once we get to the other side, I think people will be thriving. We need to get through the next two to three months and let's all get vaccinated so we can actually have live events and enjoy life as we used to."