The Lotus Garden Restaurant in Kensington has decided to put staff and customer saftey first and has voluntarily closed its dining room for the next couple of weeks due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.
"We're a very busy restaurant with a lot of traffic in and out," said Tammy Ranni, the restaurant's manager. "Seniors are a big part of our business, and they're also our friends. We have the same people that come in the same day every week."
Tuesday, Nov. 24, was the first day the dining room was closed to the public with the restaurant turning to take-out service only. After two weeks, the owners say they will take a look at P.E.I.'s COVID-19 situation and make a decision going forward.
"We're fortunate that we do have a good take-out business, and it will keep us going," she said. The unfortunate part of the decision was that three servers were also temporarily laid off.
The popular Chinese and Canadian food restaurant, located next to the Independent grocery store at 31 Broadway St., has been in business for about 30 years. Ranni has been with the restaurant for 15 years.
Ranni said the COVID-19 situation in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well as the P.E.I. government's decision to temporarily suspend its participation in the Atlantic bubble for two weeks were motivating factors in the restaurant's decision. Also, the chief public health officer's announcement last week that a woman in her 20s who tested positive for COVID-19 had also attended two Charlottetown restaurants — The Gahan House and Terra Rossa — was a reassurance that the right decision was made to temporarily close Lotus Garden, she said.
Ranni added that a few customers don't like the temporary closure, but the majority are supportive of the decision.
"Money's not everything. If you don't have your health, it doesn't matter if we stay open and we're busy, it's not helping anybody."