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COLUMN: It's takeout time: Local restaurants need our support amid latest restrictions

With indoor dining banned until at least Jan. 21, Orillia's diverse culinary scene could use a boost
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This is a call to arms. Well, knives and forks, actually.

Local restaurants are feeling the heat again with the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the province, pushing many to their limits. That includes a ban on indoor dining until at least Jan. 21.

Whatever support might be made available to businesses suffering as a result of this move won’t be enough. It is not business as usual.

Some will temporarily close, while others will lay off staff and put in extra time of their own to keep things afloat.

We’re fortunate to have an array of takeout offerings in Orillia, a culinary diversity that has grown tremendously in a relatively brief amount of time. Many of these businesses are locally, or at least independently, owned. They’re the ones that need our help the most right now. The chains will likely still be around. They’ll survive.

I’ve had the privilege, through this food and drink column, of getting to know a number of chefs and restaurant owners and trying their food. Their passion is palpable. Many aren’t in the business to get rich. Some barely break even. They just want people to enjoy their food.

That often includes the experience of dining in. When that is not allowed, it hurts some more than others.

“The takeout thing isn’t really worth the time. This hits us really hard because we are really just a pub that sells food,” Hog N’ Penny owner Paul Raymond recently told OrilliaMatters.

The new restrictions feel like “a little bit of abuse,” he said.

His frustration, shared by many others in his position, is understandable, but there’s a sense of resiliency that is admirable.

They are determined to clear this hurdle, but they need a boost from us. So, let’s eat. Forget takeout Tuesday. It’s takeout any day.

Hopefully these restrictions won’t need to be extended beyond Jan. 21, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that situations can change quickly. We need to support our local restaurants and cafés for as long as it takes. They are such a prominent part of our community and economy, we can’t let them fail.

Order takeout when you can — especially over the next couple of weeks — and tip generously.

Nathan Taylor’s local food and drink column appears every other Saturday.





Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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