Some people in Steinbach are feeling tense after two cases of COVID-19 were identified at a local Smitty’s and the hometown branch of Steinbach Credit Union.
“It makes you a little nervous because you don’t know now, the next restaurant you might go to, there could be a positive case down the road,” said Leroy Barkman, who lives in the city just south of Winnipeg.
He was planning to go to Smitty’s on Sunday morning for breakfast when he saw it was closed. Later that day, he read in the news it was because a part-time employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
“It just makes you a little uneasy, being a senior and all,” Barkman said.
Since Manitoba pandemic restrictions on restaurants lifted, he dines out once a week, but he says he’s going to hold off for the time being.
“We’ll listen to the news and be prudent about it,” he said.
Michelle and Wendell Martens aren’t taking any chances. When they do eat out, they only get takeout.
“We figured we’d keep a little more air space around us,” Wendell said, adding they won’t be back in the confines of a restaurant until there’s snow on the ground, and maybe not even then.
“We’ll have to re-evaluate at that point and see what the COVID conditions are.”
Isaac Loewen owns Golden Fried Burgers and Fries. His is one of at least two other businesses in the area that’s temporarily closing as a precaution in light of the cases locally.
Even though nobody who is connected to his restaurant is sick, he said it wasn’t a difficult decision to shut down for a few days.
“The whole community has to play as a team or it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Other people are doing it, and we feel even [if] there is a small percentage chance we could have it in our restaurant, we have to get all of our staff tested,” he said.
As for losing sales, Loewen says its a small price to pay.
“You take the safe end at the beginning, then we don’t have to go to the point where we are all of a sudden going to a full shutdown again. Monetarily, I’m looking at it as, take a small hit now so we can continue to do business later,” he said.
Steinbach’s Mayor Earl Funk says he thinks the businesses took the correct action to protect employees and the public.
He has no doubt the local community will support the businesses while closed and once they reopen.
“We have a beautiful community, we have incredible people. … You know, it’s not easy when your favourite restaurant shuts. They will support it and move on,” he said.
Funk says the community will find out more on how to move forward when provincial health officials hold a briefing tomorrow.
“I am very proud of our businesses and how they are dealing with this, and how they are making sure they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
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