Yet another strategy for restaurants to maximize patrons given the constraints during the panedemic, has been outdoor partios which have been converted from parking lots.

Just yesterday, a partial reopen phase began in Ontario, including the reopening of outdoor patios. One interesting difference between this reopen and the previous ones is the fact that last calls have been set back to pre-pandemic times (2AM), as opposed to the brutally tight 9PM in the previous reopen.

Thanks to a good friend who made reservations, we were able to get in in due time past a bustling lineup which was there until past 11pm. Boy was it nice to be out and about again.

The 'Rendezviews', which pre-pandemic was just a boring old parking lot

I’m all for these new ways to squeeze operational space based on the different reopen phases. We gotta do what we gotta do in order to satisfy the constraints which are being set, which we are hoping that the guys setting the rules know what they’re doing and that they’ve thought it through. Which by the way doesn’t always happen.

A couple months ago, due to restrictions set at the province level, the Ottawa-Gatineau border (which is a series of bridges which connect the Ontario Ottawa to the Quebec Gatineau areas) had local police operated checkpoints to ensure that the traveler was going across for essential reasons. What ended up happening is that it took commuters who at 8am are just trying to get to their jobs, take an extra 2 hours just to get to a job that they likely weren’t thrilled about commuting to in the first place.

traffic jam
Policies set by governments have real impact on real people, just in case that needed to be reiterated

To the government’s credit (I could really be a bit more informed about at which level of the governments these things are being appealed and readjusted, the ‘government’ is too broad a term), just a couple days later at least the Ottawa to Gatineau border check was removed, and in the couple times I had to go over to the other side a week or so later, there were no checks being performed. Sure, we could sit around and blame the system for having caused these delays without the foresight that it would create this amount of traffic congestion just given the sheer volume of commuters and the time it takes to do a road check, I’m still happy that they at least were willing to make things right, and right fairly quickly.

That was a bit of a tangent about my stance towards these policies, reopening phases and such. Anyway, as someone who likes socializing with people, it’s great to think that there are people out there looking at parking lots which became emptier due to the pandemic, to turn it into a nice outdoor area where some sense of normalcy could be presented. Yes I know they’re not exactly alturists who just want to accomodate people having a good time.

Not everyone is this upbeat about patios. There was a reddit post which was getting a lot of visibility today, below is a screenshot of the original post:

reddit post

There’s no need to go too in depth about what I think about that post, but I find it though-provoking how some people can hold such negative sentiments, and only see the negatives of the activities or pass-times we partake in life.

Here comes my final point for today. At the Rendezviews tonight, there was some wackiness and silliness that was taking place, which was a bit more energetic than what I observed generally at pre-pandemic levels. I wondered if it’s a sign of pent up need to express themselves.

These days when I’m outside, I do find myself having a refreshed perspective. As a collective we were, and still are, undergoing some unique times. Ontario was under a stay at home order from January to March, then from April to June, so you can’t blame people for forgetting how we behave or interact with other people, kinda like a small reset in our mental models for appropriate behaviour. Another series of incidents that I think support this hypothesis might be how when the NBA started having fans again at games, there was some unruly fan behaviour (such as spitting on a player, dumping popcorn over) which took place almost every day for I think 5 or 6 days. Pre-pandemic, the most notable fan inappropriateness that I remember is the Malice at the Palace, which was way back in 2004, and so it was again an oddity that the league had such frequent fan misbehaviour right after opening up.