Winnipeg pub turns away tourists over COVID-19 concerns
WINNIPEG -- The King's Head pub is cracking down on tourists who are ignoring COVID-19 travel restrictions, by ramping up screening measures at the door.
Staff members have started checking customers' identification, not only to make sure they're legal drinking age but also to see where they're from.
"We started to have people come into the King's Head, who actually hadn't been quarantining," said owner Chris Graves on Saturday.
"What we decided to do was have an actual policy and procedure... to make sure you're from the right area to protect the safety of my staff and my patrons."
Graves said he had to turn away two men visiting from Florida, Saturday night. In the past month, he said tourists from North Dakota, New Brunswick and Quebec have tried to enter the Exchange District restaurant.
"Each time that happened, we didn't know what the full story was, but we did find out they did not quarantine and that was the most important thing to us," Graves said.
The federal government has extended the travel ban for non-essential travel to the U.S. until August 21. The province requires anyone travelling to Manitoba from east of Terrace Bay, Ont. to self-isolate for 14 days.
Graves said the province needs to do more to enforce the rules.
"We need the province to step up as well to make sure there are checks and balances. Right now, there aren't," he said.
Shaun Jeffrey, the executive director of the Manitoba Restaurants and Foodservices Association, said the provincial government has given the industry "zero guidance."
"Other governments in the Atlantic region and Ontario are actually contacting people as they come off the plane," said Jeffery. "They call you, make sure you're self-isolating. We're not doing any of that."
Jeffrey said the King's Head is one of several Manitoba restaurants ramping up screening measures.
"We don't know where our patrons are coming from. We're obviously a destination city, especially with relaxed guidelines compared to the other guidelines in Canada," he said.
On its website, the province said, "Public Health officials continue to educate businesses and the public about steps they need to take to ensure compliance with orders made under The Public Health Act and the Emergency Measures Act."
Graves said a COVID-19 case at his bar would have a devastating impact on business.
"We need to make sure the longevity of our business continues. I can't be shut down again. I need to continue to stay open. It's tough enough as it is," said Graves
King's Head customer Dave Driedger welcomed the extra screening at the entrance.
"It really is no hardship to pull out your ID and show them that," he said.