Homestead Restaurant in Riverview, N.B., reopens dining area amid ‘new world’

The Homestead Restaurant in Riverview, N.B., welcomed its first dine-in customer on Tuesday after being forced to shut down the dining area amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are certainly thrilled to be back and see some of our familiar faces,” said John Godfrey, who has owned the popular home cooking-style restaurant for almost 30 years.

As part of 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 in for a different experience as they will be greeted at the door with a welcome sign now calling for physical distancing. Posting COVID-19-related health information, he said, is a public health requirement.

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

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 that staff are now required to wear masks at all times and must disinfect tables between every customer.

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“Our dining room is now cut down to half the tables that we had in the old world. Even outside we need an attendant on the door and we need to maintain physical distancing in the parking lot,” he said.

“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 adjust, adapt and, hopefully, overcome.

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