Dan Humphries, owner of Grilled to the Mac in Sooke, says despite everything going on, business feels fairly normal. (Photo contributed by Dan Humphries)

Sooke eateries adapt to new restrictions

Despite changes due to COVID-19 crisis, they’re ‘pushing through’

Eating establishments in Sooke are working to adapt to the ongoing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of March, restaurants were mandated by the province to switch to a delivery or takeout model to help stop the spread of the virus.

Eateries such as Route 14, The Lazy Gecko and Grilled to the Mac food truck, say despite all the rapid changes, they’re pushing through.

Adam Parsons, general manager at Route 14, says that the restaurant has adjusted well to the new style of service, and demand has been steady.

“I think people are excited to order take out,” Parsons said. “We have had a lot of support.”

Parsons said changing to take-out and delivery has lasted longer than they expected, but it has been quite successful and Route 14 is considering continuing with delivery service even after the pandemic is over.

The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and people are able to come in and pick up, or get free delivery.

ALSO READ: Sooke businesses cope with closures in midst of COVID-19

Maria Holland, who purchased and reopened The Lazy Gecko last July, said this wasn’t the summer she was expecting, but she is trying to stay positive.

Things haven’t changed too drastically for her business, as people often ordered take-out regardless.

“I feel blessed our doors are still open, I still get to see people and visit, people still get their burritos and I’m just thankful I’m not doing too bad,” Holland said. “Everyone who comes in is so amazing, saying thanks to us for being open. The people in Sooke truly make it easier.”

Her regular employees are no longer working at the restaurant for the time being, so just Holland, her sister and her niece are running the operation. The Lazy Gecko shortened its weekly hours, now closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Dan Humphries, owner of Grilled to the Mac, said despite everything going on, business feels fairly normal, adding that the usual amount of customers visiting his food truck correlates with the time of year.

However, at this time of the year Humphries is usually starting to fill up his schedule with events, festivals and markets, which are a crucial part of his regular income.

“I am missing a lot of those events because my business is somewhat seasonal,” he said.

Currently, Grilled to the Mac is set up at the Sooke Bite Stop, (6331 Sooke Rd.) on Thursday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. In the months ahead if business increases, Humphries will likely extend his hours.

“I am just happy I’m able to operate at this point,” Humphries said.

“Personally, it’s working well because when people come to order, it’s one-on-one, and there is a lot of room for distance. I am operating by myself, so I am in complete control over what I’m doing in terms of sanitation and what I’m serving. I think people realize that and that’s why business has been fairly steady.”

Humphries noted if people plan on spending their money, he hopes they are “keeping it local.”

“It’s important to support the small businesses. The closer the money sticks, the better the community is going to do. We really have to keep it home with what’s going on,” Humphries said.

“I am happy to see that support coming in, and I try to do the same for other businesses in Sooke.”

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