A few friends were taking advantage of free pancakes offered up for kids at the Bluefin in Souris last week a day before PEI restaurants were given the order to close inroom dining services for the public. From left are 4- year -old Bella Janzen, 5-year-old Kale Cheverie and 6-year-old Peyton Janzen, Bella and Peyton are the daughters of Sarah Janzen and Kale is the son of Vanessa and Derreck Cheverie. Charlotte MacAulay photo

Social distancing and heightened sanitizing have been top of mind for Amber Jenkins, owner of the Bluefin Restaurant in Souris last week when her doors were open to the public and even now as she has laid off all staff and provides a pared down take-out option for customers.

A dozen employees were given their layoff notices over the past few weeks.

“When it comes to safety and health or making money obviously the bar tips towards safety,” Ms Jenkins said, describing the balancing act she has been maintaining as public health rules change daily.

Ms Jenkins had no qualms about inviting school kids into her restaurant for a free breakfast last week.

“Eating is essential,” she said.

Giving kids, who depended on the school breakfast program, a nutritious start to their day an option to have the same when school closed was the right thing to do, she added.

Staying open as long as she did was an adjustment, but it needed to be done.

“It was good for regular customers to have some sort of normalcy in their lives,” Ms Jenkins said.

She said she has complete faith in the system when it comes to the restrictions being put in place and is hopeful the economic measures being announced by both the provincial and federal governments will work for everyone.

“It made sense for me to lay my staff off so they would be taken care of in terms of employment insurance,” Ms Jenkin’s said, but she is unclear as to what will happen regarding her own income.

Whatever additional changes come Ms Jenkins said she will continue to provide food to customers as long as the public health provisions provide.

“We want to be able to wake up in a month’s time and say nothing happened,” she said.

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