A restaurant and bar in Winnipeg has been decried on social media for a lack of physical distancing witnessed on the establishment’s patio last weekend — but the owner is calling the claims bogus.
Chaise Corydon has been issued two tickets already this summer for breaking COVID-19 rules. A photo, apparently taken around 1:47 a.m. Saturday and later posted on social media, shows its patio packed with many people grouped together.
“All of the people who are complaining, the message is very clear: they want us to follow the rules,” said owner Shea Ritchie, but “when I ask them to which rules they’re referring to, they don’t actually know the rules.
“They don’t realize that we have extra security guards … who are watching that very front patio, who check every single person in and out, and they’re making sure everything is being done and that we’re running it according to the rules.”
Phase 4 of Manitoba’s reopening strategy came into effect on July 25, but changes to public health rules regarding public gatherings and bars were deferred. So bars such as Chaise Corydon are still under same Phase 3 guidelines.
Under Phase 3, restaurants and bars can be fully operational, but must ensure that people can “reasonably” keep at least two metres apart, except for brief exchanges.
Patios and indoor spaces can fully reopen, minding that a maximum of 50 people are allowed inside and a maximum of 100 people are allowed outside. Tables and seating must also be arranged in a way that creates a physical barrier or a two-metre separation between people at different tables.
Establishments must also ensure that patrons, when not sitting, can reasonably stay at least two metres from others. Standing service at bars is prohibited, and dance floors must remain closed.
Ritchie, who also owns Chaise Café and Lounge in St. Boniface, apparently reached out to the person who made the post and asked them specifically which rules the restaurant was breaking.
The person said they didn’t know and referred Ritchie to the photo they had taken, according to Ritchie.
The photo shows many people standing on the patio in groups, separated by bar tables.
Ritchie said part of the crowd is in fact a separate lineup to get into the restaurant, but CBC News cannot confirm that based on the photo in question.
People often complain to Ritchie about the lack of physical distancing in his establishment, and while he says the restaurant has taken measures to ensure physical distancing between groups of people, it is not his responsibility to keep people from the same group apart.
“If you want to go for dinner … I’m not supposed to be asking questions invalidating your reasons for going out with somebody. I’m not supposed to maintain a distance between you and your other people,” he said.
Ritchie suggests people with concerns to contact Manitoba Health to ensure the restaurant is violating the rules before posting complaints on social media.
Chaise Corydon has already received two tickets from Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority this summer for violating COVID-19 public health rules — each was to the tune of $2,542.
The first ticket, issued on June 22, was given because two different inspectors found three instances where chairs at tables were too close together, Ritchie said, adding that the restaurant thought tables had to be two metres apart, not chairs.
The second ticket, issued on July 11, was given because it appeared people from various groups were dancing together.
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