PHOTO: UNSPLASH

With restrictions lifted in Alberta, restaurants and patios are open just in time for the hot weather —and Calgarians couldn’t be happier.

Closed under the province-wide lockdown in April, patios reopened June 1 and dine-in options followed on the 10th, to the relief of eager Calgarians. 

“Let’s just say Calgary is acting like they just had a decade-long drought and have just seen alcohol for the first time,” said Devon Charuk, a manager at Craft Beer Market downtown.

When patios were first allowed back onto the scene, people were still cautious and very respectful, Charuk said. It was consistently busy, but the patrons had less cash to spend, he said. 

Since the re-opening of dine-in options, Charuk said not only has Calgary grown thirstier, but their bills have skyrocketed as well.

“When indoor dining opened up on Thursday, we were completely slammed on Friday and Saturday, with a three-hour wait time the entire night,” he said. “It seems like a switch flipped.”

Just down the street at Home and Away, manager Kacey Foore said that when patios first opened up they were completely slammed.

“We had a really good turnover, but it was hard because we had to base our business off the weather,” she said.

With dine-in options reopening and patios are still as busy as ever, the entire space was filled all weekend long, she said.

Kacey Foore, Manager at Home and Away. PHOTO: TAYLOR CHARLEBOIS

“Our entire spot was packed pretty much all day Friday and Saturday, but Sunday was a little more relaxed.”

This can be because bars and other restaurants are open until 11 p.m. now, so people are getting used to drinking later, Foore said.

The hot weather and the recent lift of restrictions is a perfect combination for people to see their friends again and go share a drink at their favorite patio and restaurant. 

Jonathon Osmond, who was out drinking on the Trolley 5 patio along 17th Avenue S.W. Monday, said that restaurants and patios give him and his friends a sense of community while still socially distancing. 

“Longing for some normalcy and community is definitely very real with everyone I know these days,” Osmond said. “Patios and the sunshine make it ever so enticing to go out and get a beer and some burgers.”