restaurants toronto indoor dining

This is why some restaurants in Toronto aren't opening for indoor dining right away

While many restaurants across Toronto are gleefully reopening, some even at midnight as Thursday turned into Friday on July 16 and Step 3 began, others won't be opening their doors right away.

Some are sticking with patio service for now and won't be doing indoor service immediately, while others are staying temporarily closed for in-person service or entirely for the time being due to various reasons.

Tampered Press owner Caitlin Zannoni has three main points as to why she won't be opening up her cafe for indoor service until Aug. 2.

She wants to give the vaccines her staff have gotten time to be as fully effective as possible, to take the time to reopen properly and to follow the business's original reopening plan that had been paced out before stages were shortened.

"We have learned after 16 months that this pandemic is a marathon, not a race," Zannoni tells blogTO. "At this point, what is two more weeks during what is for us a slower time, since people are at cottages, etc., if it means a better chance of avoiding another lockdown."

Maple Leaf Tavern director of operations Esther Yu echoes Zannoni's desire to take things slow so everything is absolutely perfect when they reopen indoors on July 23 with a new chef. Not surprising coming from people who know good coffee and good food are achieved with patience.

"Just like our patio reopening, we are taking our time to open indoor dining on our own terms," Yu tells blogTO.

"We want to take the extra time to ensure that Maple Leaf Tavern is set up safely and perfectly to accommodate all COVID-19 restrictions, while offering the quality of service that patrons have come to know and love at the tavern."

Owner Hemant Bhagwani kept his new restaurant Bombay Snack Bar open for as long as possible, but just as we're entering Step 3 has had to temporarily close entirely due to staffing and supply chain issues.

"I am not able to find people willing and able to work, even though I am happy to train people new to the industry. In the absence of staff, I can't open the restaurant, though I would have loved to do so. Everyone wants cash and they pretty much blackmail on it," Bhagwani tells blogTO.

"The supply chain is broken and a lot of ingredients are not available locally. Even if they are available, the prices are through the roof. The packaging has doubled and how much more we can increase our menu pricing? So I decided to close for four weeks and let things settle down all around."

He says the main thing that would help him to reopen faster on all fronts is finding people willing to work, and that he's currently seeking employees for all positions so he can reopen again in four weeks.

For bar Montauk, which currently has their patio open but is delaying opening indoors, the bottom line is that opening up inside really just doesn't make sense for them right now.

"We have put a lot of work into making our patio as beautiful and comfortable as possible, and have it completely covered, so it is essentially inside already," owner Mike Young tells blogTO.

"With only being able to have 25 per cent capacity inside, to do the work to fully reopen the inside for only eight people does not seem worth it at this point."


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