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Restaurants on Calgary's Stephen Ave. returning to some normalcy
CALGARY -- With warm temperatures, this weekend is the first real test for many restaurants and bars in Calgary as they welcome back customers.
"It’s about time," said Nick Smerek, general manager of Social Beer Haus on Stephen Avenue.
On Monday, the province allowed restaurants and bars to reopen at half capacity and seat no more than six people per table.
Stephen Avenue has been closed to vehicle traffic, to allow for more spacing for pedestrians.
"People are just happy to get out of the house, the weather is definitely helping us along," said Smerek. "We’re running about 30 to 40 per cent. I know chatting with a couple of the restaurants on the street, they’re about the same right now."
Smerek says he did not reopen on Monday, as many of his fellow business owners did. He decided to wait until Friday to see how others were operating under the new COVID-19 rules.
Officials say all tables inside restaurants must be spaced two metres apart, but the city did allow many establishments to apply for a patio expansion permit.
"I was worried, (because) I was like we’re not going to be able to go downtown, everything is going to be closed all summer, we already lost Stampede, (so) at least we got the patios back," said patio-goer Wyatt Grant.
"There’s nothing better than a patio on a Saturday or Sunday, basically any day," said Mitch Dayton.
The City of Calgary says about 40 restaurants and bars have been approved to have a patio expansion, some going onto the street.
Officials say by the end of next week, there will be between 60 and 70 establishments with larger patio spaces.
Local, Earls, The Metropolitan, The Unicorn and several other establishments have also set up patios on Stephen Ave.