Homestead restaurant in Riverview, New Brunswick, reopens its dining room in a “new world”

The Homestead Restaurant in Riverview, N.B., welcomed its first customer to the restaurant on Tuesday after being forced to close the dining room amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re certainly thrilled to be back and seeing some of our familiar faces,” said John Godfrey, who has owned the popular home-cooking restaurant for nearly 30 years.

Under Phase 2 of New Brunswick’s reopening plan, restaurants and retail stores were among the businesses given the green light to open last Friday.

Godfrey says diners are going to have a different experience as they will be greeted at the door with a welcome sign now calling for physical distancing. Publishing health information related to COVID-19, he said, is a public health requirement.

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“I am nervously cautiously optimistic. It’s a brave new world,” Godfrey said.

He said New Brunswick Public Health gave him a 15-page document outlining the strict protocol he had to follow to open his doors. Among the requirements, he said staff are now required to wear masks at all times and must sanitize tables between each customer.

“Our dining room is now down to half the tables we had in the old world. Even outside, we need a gate attendant and we need to maintain physical distancing in the parking lot,” did he declare.

Any business wishing to open must have an operational plan available for review by government officials. The plan must show that the business can meet the requirements set out in the emergency order. Government officials can visit any business to ensure that the requirements set out in the emergency order are being met.

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Godfrey said a public health inspector visited his facility on Monday to perform an inspection to ensure they were following all protocols. He said they even measured the distance between the tables and he said he was warned the province would be doing “spot checks.”

“We are doing everything we can to keep our staff, families and customers safe,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey says he knows some people are still too nervous to dine out. But he hopes that by putting safety first, he can fill the now much smaller restaurant.


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“Quite honestly, we are concerned about our financial future,” he said.

Only able to operate with half his staff and tables, like so many restaurants struggling to survive amid COVID-19, Godfrey says he has no choice but to adapt, to adapt and hopefully overcome.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible, and maintaining a two-metre distance from other people if you go out.

For full coverage of COVID-19 by Global News, click here.

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