Sales and revenue have decreased considerably at several Castlegar restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Danny Panya, general manager of the Black Rooster Pub, said sales have decreased by around 17 per cent when comparing the summer of 2019 and 2020.
Panya notes one reason for the drop in sales is because he’s had to reduce his seating capacity at the restaurant from 210 to 130 people.
Despite the drop in traffic, Panya is grateful that regional visitors have helped to sustain his operations.
“We’ve definitely seen a big increase in the amount of B.C. travellers coming into our restaurant from the Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Visitors from Alberta have also increased,” said Panya.
“We’ve also noticed more bikers and campers stopping by the restaurant.”
Staff have changed the restaurant’s menu constantly and have sourced more of their food locally to attract more visitors.
Cartwright’s Pub is another restaurant that has faced many difficulties from the pandemic. Between the summer of 2019 and 2020, sales at the restaurant have dropped by approximately 50 per cent.
Traffic has also dropped by about 40 per cent during the same time because staff have had to reduce the seating capacity in the restaurant from 86 to 40 people.
Pub owner Steve Cartwright said local customers have helped to sustain his operations during these difficult times.
“Once we were allowed to reopen in May, our regular clientele came back here and were eager to support us,” said Cartwright.
“We really appreciated them all coming back.”
The pub has put screens around the bar and sanitized surfaces regularly to keep customers safe.
Staff at Lions Head Pub are also taking it day by day during the pandemic. The pub has lost around 20 per cent of revenue between the summer of 2019 and 2020. The pub has also had to reduce its seating capacity from 140 to 80 and will have to reduce it another 30 if they end up closing their patio this winter.
Pub owner Troy Pyett hopes to improve the patio space and keep it open for the upcoming season.
“One thing we’re looking at is getting heaters for the patio,” said Pyett.
“We’re also looking at putting an enclosure around the patios that drops down from the roof.”
Pyett emphasized he’d only make the patio investments this winter if the B.C. government didn’t shut down restaurants or forced them to only offer takeout service again.
At least five businesses have closed in Castlegar since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.