The Cellar Pub and Grill opens under COVID-19 restrictions

After approval from the University of New Brunswick, The Cellar Pub and Grill reopened its doors on Sept. 18. (AQ Archives)

The Cellar Pub and Grill reopened its doors on Sept. 18 after approval from the University of New Brunswick. The pub was allowed to reopen as long as they follow COVID-19 guidelines.

The operations manager, Patrick Hanson, said he is worried about the business.  

“Given the rules and guidelines that we have to follow, I suspect our business will be down by a very substantial percentage,” said Hanson. 

The guidelines are set in place by the New Brunswick Department of Health, Worksafe New Brunswick and UNB. This includes wearing a mask unless you are seated, being socially distanced from others, limited group sizes of six and four per table and no mingling between tables unless a mask is being worn.

Hanson said he’s concerned about the maximum capacity of 64 people, tables being six feet apart and closing time being 10 p.m. 

The Cellar’s usual capacity was 140 people and was open until 2 a.m. 

“It will be a difficult year financially for The Cellar,” said Hanson.

Hanson said cutting the capacity has come at the cost of having to reduce its staff to nearly half from the previous year.

Hilary Foster, a fourth-year history major, said she was saddened when she heard The Cellar wouldn’t be reopening right away.

“I understand why they shut down and was disappointed. But I knew it being closed was for the best,” she said via Facebook Messenger.

Foster said she is excited to go to The Cellar on Friday nights and catch up with friends over food and drinks.

“I am slightly concerned for the business in general Being a non-profit business, The Cellar really relies on a large volume of sales in order to keep our prices as low as we do. We have our fingers crossed,” said Hanson. 

Hanson said students can expect a much different experience from what they would be used to in the past and sympathizes with the many changes that everyone is experiencing this year as a result of COVID-19. He said he understands that The Cellar is a place for students to go hang out and mingle.

“We can only hope that the future brings us back to our old normal sooner rather than later,” he said.