How Halifax restaurants are dealing with COVID-19

By / Food / May 12th, 2020 / 4
Halifax restaurants manage COVID-19

Despite thousands of Coronavirus cases across the country, and a nationwide lockdown, many Halifax restaurants aren’t giving up hope just yet. Since the coronavirus crisis began in January of this year and swept across the nation, Canada has seen over 60, 000 cases and Nova Scotia nearly 1,000.

With so many sick and everyone at risk, businesses are being forced to closed – especially places that encourage large social gatherings. That’s bad news for the restaurant business.

Gordon Stewart, Executive Director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, predicted $1 million of revenue could be lost by the restaurant industry due to COVID-19 as well as that more than 400 restaurants are expected to close. With revenue on the constant decline during these times, some Halifax restaurants are dealing with the pandemic differently. It’s not just about increased sanitation processes and wearing face masks, they’re also adapting how they do business.

Here’s a quick look at what local Halifax restaurants are doing to support the community during the pandemic.

EnVie restaurant, which closed at the start of March, decided to offer “EnVie at home”. At the end of March, they announced via Instagram that “EnVie at home” would allow patrons to purchase via email, ordering not only their signature plant-based menu items but also grocery items, such as cold pressed juice and chocolate chip cookies.

“We also want to give back to those that are in need in our community with donations,” EnVie wrote on Instagram. “We will be picking a new cause every week.”

This allowed customers to donate locally simply by placing an order with them.

EnVie isn’t the only local business giving back. They’re joined by Good Robot Brewing in offering charity support to Adsum House, a non-profit organization and women’s shelter. Julien’s Patisserie Bakery & Café, which has recently switched to taking online orders, also started contributing sandwich trays three days a week to Adsum house.

“Everyone’s affected and even small businesses, they’re reaching out, doing a little bit extra and yet they’re saying we still want to help,” says Kathy McNab, fund development and communications officer for Adsum House.

Barkismet, a restaurant that appeared on Curated Magazine’s “50 Best Places to Eat” list began offering pasta kits mid-March after deciding to temporarily close the doors. These kits feature pasta made in-house by the restaurant, including different varieties such as tagliatelle, Bolognese, and ricotta spinach tortellini and tomato sauce.

As of April 22, they announced that a new ordering system would allow people to buy pasta kits and a weekly wine selection, which according to the comments, are selling out fast – but then again who wouldn’t want wine and homemade pasta!

Well-known local gelato bar Humani-T Cafe also adapted how they do business after deciding to switch to take-out only. The cafe is now not only offering curbside pick-up for items they offer, such as sandwiches and pastries, but they are also delivering pints of their signature gelato. Gelato at home? Sign me up.

Restaurants like these are the lifeblood of Halifax. So many memories and experiences come from our local restaurants and the foods they create – and even during a pandemic, local restaurants are here for us. Staff are working hard to keep their doors open and to provide the same quality delicious food customers are used to, pandemic or no pandemic. For that they should be saluted.


A freelance writer and journalist, Feleshia is passionate about writing just about anything, from articles to poetry especially when it’s about food, art or culture.

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