B.C. restaurant owner feeding truckers 'scared' for increase of summer traffic

Lisa Smith, left, has been feeding truckers from her restaurant's take-out window in Cristina Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Lisa Smith

The owner of a popular restaurant catering to truck drivers is concerned about what the summer will bring as plans move ahead to re-open B.C.’s economy.

Lisa Smith, owner of Lisa’s Lake House Seafood & Spirits in Christina Lake, opened her take-out window to truckers and other essential workers as a way to “keep the lights going” after she realized she had the perfect driveway for the truckers.

Word started to spread that truck drivers were having difficulties finding meals after the province ordered restaurants and bars to close in March.

Since then, she’s become a trucker celebrity, featured in various Facebook groups, interviewed by national media outlets and has developed a strong relationship with the B.C. truck drivers.

“Trucking companies from all over B.C. and Alberta were calling me to thank me,” she said, adding that truckers will still honk as they drive past. “Some people in the community had these signs made (thanking truckers and essential workers.)”

Originally, the restaurant was used a location for truckers to get take-out, use the bathroom and even park overnight. At the end of April, Smith re-opened her take-out window to the public and was able to hire two additional staff members after running the restaurant by herself and with another staff member for a few weeks.

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“I was really happy with my decision,” she said.

However, she’s concerned about what the summer will bring, as the restaurant is already handling as much as it can following physical distancing guidelines.

“(Keeping busy) is not the problem, I have regular truckers now. That post got shared right across Canada, they are a huge community,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to operate without truckers.”

A truck driver makes a stop at Lisa’s Lake House Seafood & Spirits.
A truck driver makes a stop at Lisa’s Lake House Seafood & Spirits.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Lisa Smith

“I’m scared because the population will increase, they’ve told people not to go to small communities, it’s already here,” she said.

Pre-COVID-19, they usually operate with about 10 staff members during the summer season. “Reopening scares the life out of me,” she said.

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“My decisions are based on safety and not money right now,” she said. “The restaurants are busier than hell already and it’s not even summer… half the restaurants are closed and now that things are loosening up a little, we’re too busy already with the staff we can get.”

“I refuse to put myself in risk, and danger of opening my restaurant too soon… we feel safe with the takeout and I think that’s my number one priority,” she said.

Plans will be unveiled on Tuesday detailing steps the B.C. government will take to re-open the economy.

 


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