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UPDATE: Dryden restaurant no longer planning to reopen dining area

The Black Barrell Eatery was planning to reopen its dine-in service on Tuesday but has changed its mind after receiving financial support from an investor
Restaurants across the province have been forced to close dine-in services during the province-wide lockdown. (file).

DRYDEN, Ont. - A restaurant in Dryden that said it would reopen to dine-in service on Tuesday despite the province-wide lockdown has changed its mind.

In a post on social media, The Black Barrell Eatery said it is ‘taking a stand’ and would open for dine-in and takeout on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

“As a small business owner we have been striving to survive with no government support during these trying times with COVID-19,” the post reads. “We can no longer survive and will be forced to close if we do not open.”

In second post made Monday afternoon, the restaurant said it has received financial support and will no longer be opening on Tuesday. 

"We were contacted by an investor who has witnessed our dedication and strong efforts to succeed during these trying times and has offered a small financial business contribution to support us through these tough days, as an investment," the post reads. "My words and thankfulness can not express the appreciation."

The provincial government issued a second state of emergency and a stay at home order Jan. 12 following a province-wide lockdown order instituted on Dec. 26. The order forced restaurants to close dine-in services.  

The orders were to be in effect until Feb. 11. There is no word at this time if the restrictions will be extended.

The social media post generated hundreds of comments and a follow-up statement from the restaurant acknowledging there has been both positive and negative feedback to its decision.

“I didn’t make my post today to cause controversy,” the post reads. “It was simple. Our new local business is not doing well and we made a decision that may or may not help us. Yes we know there may be financial consequences and clearly we stand by our decision after consulting facts and research.”

The post goes on to say that there is nothing anyone can say that will change this decision and other local business owners feel the same way and are offering support.

The Black Barrell Eatery said it is not asking anyone to go against what they believe in or to break any rules and it has made the decision in order to survive.

“It’s time for us to step up, bring back life and wholesome living to Dryden, a community we call home - while ensuring we’re doing ‘our’ part to ensure everyone we serve is safe,” the post reads.

“COVID-19 pops up everywhere i.e. hospitals etc., and there highly sanitized and take every precaution possible, it’s ultimately inevitable. As long as we are all doing our part to be safe - just like grocery shopping or sending your kids to school, why can’t we enjoy dinner out with our families?”

The Black Barrell Eatery and the Northwestern Health Unit have not yet responded to requests for comment on this story.

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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