Restaurants and bars change course as Eastern Townships enters red zone

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Restaurants and bars change course as Eastern Townships enters red zone
Keren Richard, co-owner of Café Aragon since 2009, prepares to close up shop as the Eastern Townships enters red zone territory. (Photo : Michael Boriero)

The Eastern Townships is moving into a COVID-19 red zone, forcing restaurants and bars to once again close their dining areas for an undetermined amount of time and resort to take-out and delivery services.
Stan Groves, owner of Lennoxville’s Golden Lion Pub, is disappointed with the provincial government’s decision. He said all indications pointed to the Eastern Townships pushing closer to yellow, or at the very least staying solid orange.
The new government directives means more staff cuts, he explained in a phone interview. Most of them are students, Groves continued, which puts them in a financial bind. He believes the finger should be pointed at the establishments who repeatedly skirted safety rules.
“What irks me the most is it comes down to the same negligent bar owners that when we first re-opened in mid-June they were fined and they had infractions because they weren’t complying to the government’s health ordinances,” said Groves.
Last weekend, the Sherbrooke Police Service (SPS) cracked down on La Microdistillerie, a bar in the downtown area. There were over 200 people inside the building a little past 11 p.m., according to the SPS, with hardly any social distancing and a lack of face masks.

Groves told The Record that, along with a steady increase in new COVID-19 cases, this was likely the tipping point for the region going into a red zone. The problem, he said, is the government came out with these colours and regulations but failed to provide oversight.

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