Rob Mackenzie, owner, smiles behind the outdoor bar at Chief’s Pub and Eatery. Chief’s is celebrating its 21st anniversary on the Sylvan Lake lakeshore this year. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake restaurants ‘business as usual’ after COVID-19 closure

Chief’s Pub and Eatery and Pete’s at the Beach are doing well this summer since reopening their doors

Restaurants along Lakeshore Drive are back to business as usual after the temporary COVID-19 related closures in the spring.

Chief’s Pub and Eatery and Pete’s at the Beach both say business has been good since reopening their doors with the new health protocols.

“I think we’re doing busier than last year,” said Dave Corey, owner of Pete’s at the Beach, stating every weekend is like the July long weekend.

“It’s because all the parents and all the kids are at home … so its like a July and August year, we used to wait for those months, but now June is July” Corey explained.

“Usually you wait for the parents to take their kids to the beach on the weekends, well, on a Tuesday when it was 22 degrees they’re all at the beach.”

He added he finds this year to be just as busy, if not busier, than past years.

Rob Mackenzie, owner at Chief’s Pub and Eatery, says it has been a “really good summer” with the business busy on the weekends as well as during the week, as long as it is nice out.

He says he has seen a “substantial increase” in sales during the week.

“It hasn’t been the best weather, but it makes up for all the others just with all the staycationers,” said Mackenzie. “We’d be twice as busy if we could have all the people in here that we usually have.”

During the Town of Sylvan Lake’s “stay away” campaign after relaunch both owners say they were busy.

“Everyone’s been dying to get out and visit… we’ve been locked up, we’re now going to go out and party,” said Corey.

Mackenzie also cited the notion of people being cooped up for too long and needing to get out, but says it’s been great as they practise social distancing and the staff wear masks.

Both businesses used the temporary closures to their advantage with Corey taking the time for himself and selling the business after 30 years.

Mackenzie says he used the opportunity to do renovations for Chief’s 21st anniversary, explaining the closure will have some impact on the bottom line, but nothing substantial.

The Town has lifted its “stay away” campaign and officially welcomed visitors back with a Facebook post on July 10. The post stated the beach front, swimming areas, public washrooms and parking lots were open, and encouraged visitors to follow Alberta Health guidelines.

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