But for some ‘too much damage has been done’ during the pandemic
Restaurants are raring to go now that Ontario is opening the door to full-capacity seating.
“It means a lot,” said Vito Marinuzzi, owner of 7Numbers Restaurant on Danforth. “We haven’t had this scenario in a very long time.”
Nineteen months into the pandemic, Marinuzzi is ready for what he hopes will be a crush of business from a community that has kept him going.
“Kind of nervous at the same time because we will be at full capacity and hopefully making money again,” he said. “We are getting ready for it and I have been ready for it and the staff is ready for it, so it means a lot.”
Up the street, Russell Piffer and Ginger Robertson own two places near Danforth and Broadview Aves. — The Edmund Burke and Off the Hook.
“Lifting capacity limits isn’t going to do much for us right now,” said Piffer. “There’s been so much damage; and on a lot of fronts.”
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Being able to fill every seat will help them weather the approaching winter.
“For us it’s definitely an opportunity to make things a lot easier for our staff and not have to worry about telling somebody, ‘You can’t come in here because we have two people sitting here, and two people sitting over there’s not enough distance between you guys,’” he said.
Friday is also the first day Ontarians can show QR codes proving full vaccination — another responsibility for restaurants.
“The QR I don’t even understand the logic behind it because it’s not easier than before,” Piffer said. “You still have to look at their ID except now there is one more step that you have to scan something.”
The lifting of capacity limits comes at a good time for Piffer and Robertson because they did not qualify for government support during the pandemic — partly because they took over one of their restaurants, Off the Hook, about one week before the first lockdown in March 2020
“Death by a thousand cuts” is how Piffer described their experience, which was only softened by take-out orders.
“We took such a huge hit there in the last few months,” he said.
Thinking about his last 19 months battling to keep two family restaurants afloat, Marinuzzi is near tears.
“I get emotional,” he said, describing how his children aged 15 and 17 jumped in at the beginning of the pandemic to help with the business.
That business is now ready with its QR scanning app — and ready to return to full capacity.