You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here: Pub bars some out-of-towners over COVID-19 concerns

By | July 18, 2020

Bars are open in Winnipeg, and that generally includes travellers from out of province at this point — but there’s a catch at one pub.

The King’s Head Pub staff aren’t just checking patron’s licences to confirm they’re old enough to imbibe. Now, they’re also checking every customer’s identification to see where people are from.

“We were getting a lot of people that were coming in to the King’s Head that had not been quarantining from different areas of the country, as well as from the U.S.” said owner Chris Graves. 

Graves said the new policy, adopted last week, is one way the pub is enforcing the 14-day isolation rule for some recent arrivals who present licences from places east of northwestern Ontario.

The King’s Head has been opened in some way, shape or form since the beginning of May, when gathering sizes were still restricted and there was no inter-provincial travel.

As each of those rules has relaxed, the pub began to see more out-of-towners.

Currently anyone living west of Terrace Bay, Ont., may enter Manitoba without having to self-isolate for two weeks.

Chris Graves is the owner of the King’s Head Pub in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. (CBC)

“We’re allowing those people to come in. The problem is, is that we cannot guarantee or we can’t actually know who has truly quarantined or not,” said Graves.

“People are slipping through it already, so we can’t trust the province anymore to protect my staff and my patrons, so we need to do it on our own now,” said Graves.

To bolster his point, Graves points to a few recent examples of patrons breaking the rules.

Most recently a couple from North Dakota attempted to come in and did not quarantine, said Graves.

They left thirsty.

“We didn’t get the full story but we would not allow them in.”

Last week, a couple from New Brunswick tried to come in for a pint. 

Before that, four men who flew from Quebec to Winnipeg stopped by. When asked by staff, the men said they were in the city visiting because they were bored.

“They came to the King’s Head and did not quarantine,” said Graves.

“We wouldn’t have actually implemented this procedure if it weren’t for instances that have happened.”

Graves isn’t aware of any other restaurants or pubs in the city enforcing similar rules. But he said his pub policy is about safety and he hopes other local bars follow suit.

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