Less than a week ago, I was sitting down for dinner at Hearth in Saskatoon. The Juno Awards had just been cancelled and the city was reeling, but people were out in full force and the restaurant was full. As wonderful as the room felt and the plates of tempura-smoked carrots with fermented chickpea hummus and smoked pike with preserved lemon and confit potato tasted, everything was bittersweet.
In the back of my mind, I knew this would be the last sit-down restaurant experience I would be having for quite some time.
Hearth is now one of thousands of restaurants across the country that have closed temporarily in light of the current pandemic. Some have been ordered closed by local or regional governments. Others have made that decision on their own as fears about COVID-19 and emphasis on social distancing pile up.
In Calgary, the city declared a state of emergency last weekend and, as of Monday, restaurants and cafes are only able to operate at half capacity. Several days later, the provincial government limited that to 50 people, or half a business’s operating capacity, whichever is less. Bars and pubs were ordered closed completely.
Calgary’s Alumni Sandwiches halted sit-down service on Monday and moved to take-out and delivery. But by the next day, it had decided to…