With coronavirus cases rising in the area, Déjà Vu Café — along with several other restaurants — has decided to close its dining room and move to pick-up or delivery.
Owner Brandon Richardson pulled the plug on in-person dining on April 5 after seeing lines of customers outside his business over the Easter long weekend. He and his staff were finding it difficult to control the volume of people due to the restaurant’s size, so he — in consultation with his wife — thought locking the doors for at least a week would be in the community’s best interest.
The decision to close was a tough decision for Richardson, especially since people eating inside is “huge.”
“You lose lots not having dine-in,” he said. “It’s going to be a financial hit, but we want summer to hopefully be good (because those are prosperous months). And if we just keep going along the way we are, this thing (the pandemic) is going to go on for a very, very long time.”
Summer is the restaurant’s busiest season since that is when thousands of tourists descend on The Friendly City. The business must hire several more employees during this time to handle the increase in patrons.
While the goal is to re-open by Wednesday, April 14, Richardson pointed out that COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in the region for almost a month. He is crossing his fingers that such cases drop enough so he can open his doors again.
“It all depends upon what the government says,” he said. “So if the government shuts Saskatchewan down … our dine-in would already be shut down and we’re doing well with pick-up and deliveries and our new online ordering app.
“Just trying to be proactive. Like, we really need summer.”
Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Richardson said that Déjà Vu Café “is still survivin’” and still in business, especially since it has a large following of fans; the restaurant is “very” popular outside of Moose Jaw.
When staff posted a message on the business’ Facebook page that it was closing in-person dining, more than 15,000 people liked and supported the news. Many fans commended the restaurant for taking a proactive stance.
Richardson thanked everyone for their support during this challenging time and encouraged residents to support community businesses.
During this time of COVID-19, customers should contact restaurants ahead of time to learn whether those businesses are open to in-person dining or whether they have moved to pick-up or delivery.