Belly at the buffet — but don’t forget your mask

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Self-serve buffets are now permitted on PEI, according to the Chief Public Health Office, although staff and customers must wear a mask at all times while picking up food.

Many COVID-19 public health restrictions on Prince Edward Island were lifted on Wednesday, including limits on personal and organized gatherings. But the mask mandate in all public spaces has been extended until April 28.

CPHA also recommends that restaurateurs maximize available space to promote physical distancing for patrons and provide access to hand sanitizer before and after buffet access.

This is good news for Forbes MacPherson, owner of Fishermen’s Wharf Lobster Suppers. The North Rustico restaurant has a 60-foot salad bar that’s usually self-serve buffet style.

Fishermen’s Wharf was closed in 2020. Last year, with pandemic restrictions, customers had to write down what they wanted from the salad bar and staff delivered it to their table.

I think customers and staff are very happy to return to our normal system.—Forbes MacPherson

“It basically meant that our servers were spending a lot of time going back and forth between the salad bar and delivering the items to our guests,” MacPherson said.

“So it took a lot more work and it changed the experience. I think customers and staff are very happy to be back to our normal system.”

MacPherson said he was optimistic about the season ahead and a return to full capacity. He is opening a second restaurant, Pier 15, for the first time in two years.

Fishermen’s Wharf will open the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

Meanwhile, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers are planning to open in early June.

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