A Moose Jaw restaurant has closed its doors to indoor dining until April 14 as coronavirus variants continue to rise in the area.
Brandon Richardson, who owns Deja Vu, said he's taking a proactive approach to help reduce the spread of the virus.
"We decided we needed to step up and it was a very hard decision because you need cash flow in order to keep running," Richardson said.
His business continues to offer take-out and delivery services, which he said has been great during the pandemic.
However, after seeing a line of customers queued up outside his business over Easter weekend, he felt it was responsible to close for indoor dining.
He's encouraging the public to have an outdoor picnic in a park over indoor dining.
"We find on weekends that we still have a lineup with people trying to get in, and we're finding it a little more difficult with the size of our place to control the crowd. So we thought this would be in the best interest of us in the community," Richardson said.
Customers from Regina
The popular restaurant, which is known for its chicken wings and television appearances, is also a favourite of Regina residents.
The government of Saskatchewan currently has a travel advisory in effect for the Regina zone, discouraging residents to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of the area.
Despite this, Richardson said he still gets customers from Regina.
"Just on Saturday we had customers come in who come for a drive, 'we just needed a drive, to get out' and they ordered takeout," Richardson said.
Indoor dining is currently banned in the Regina area until April 12, something Richardson said he expected was going to happen in Moose Jaw but hasn't yet.
"We just thought it'd be a good idea to step up and close the dine-in for right now because Regina, Moose Jaw and Wayburn numbers are for some reason going through the roof," Richardson said.
He said he doesn't believe the pandemic wil be ending anytime soon.
"But spring is sprung. Summer's coming. Something has to be done before summer because when summer hits, everyone's going to want to be out."
Coronavirus variants on the rise in south central
According to the Saskatchewan government, variants of concern are beginning to rise across southern Saskatchewan, particularly in the Moose Jaw and Weyburn areas. Health officials are urging those in the area to adhere to the best personal protective measures.
As of Monday, Saskatchewan reported 2,453 variant cases, with 204 of them located in south central where Moose Jaw is located.
"The reality is, this is not a Regina problem. It's a Saskatchewan problem," Dr. Hassan Masri, an intensive care specialist in Saskatoon, said.
"If we don't treat it like a Saskatchewan problem, then we will miss the opportunity to address this problem and it would very much in keeping with wave one and wave two, and the numbers in the next few weeks will rise in other places other in Regina."