Popular Guelph pub hit by vandal as it prepares to reopen patio

WATCH: We're just a few days away from the first step of reopening in Ontario. Patios, retail and even some sporting events get the green light on Friday.

One of Guelph’s popular pubs is still reopening its doors to patio-goers on Friday as Ontario COVID-19 restrictions ease, despite being targeted by a vandal during the overnight on Thursday.

Employees of The Shakespeare Arms in the plaza at Gordon Street and Harvard Road say someone broke into their patio, stole a bar fridge, damaged a bit of property and even defecated.

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The bar fridge was later found nearby, but it’s unclear if it still works and staff have cleaned up the mess left behind.

“We had it all set up yesterday,” said chef and kitchen manager Chris Cole. “Stuff was only there for eight or nine hours and all of the sudden, it’s ruined.”

With Ontario entering Phase 1 of its reopening plan on June 11 allowing for patio dining, the incident is not stopping the reopening of ‘Shakes.

Cole is also adamant that this will be the last time the pub is closed down as cases go down and vaccinations go up.

“Today is the final day of lockdown that I will ever experience.”

They tried to do takeout and delivery while being closed to in-person dining, but general manager Melissa McQueen described it as “hit and miss.” She also thinks the days of locked doors are behind them.

“I think we’re on the path to full reopening,” she said.

The patio at The Shakespeare Arms has been extended into the parking lot and can hold 50-60 people while still keeping tables six feet apart.

Televisions and space heaters have been installed, and all public health guidelines will be followed, Cole said. They also plan on rolling out promotions and giveaways.

They are a bit short-staffed at the moment and are looking to hire, but McQueen said the owners have taken care of their employees during the pandemic.

“Making sure they got all of their hours and created work for them so they didn’t have to be laid off,” she said. “We’re very fortunate that way.”

The Shakespeare Arms is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

All public health guidelines will be followed, including wearing masks and contact tracing.

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McQueen joked that Friday’s opening will be stressful, but Cole said everyone is really excited.

“We’ve been waiting for this for 16 months now, so we’re very excited. I’m hoping by 10:30 we have 50-60 people in line waiting to come in,” he said.

“We’re very much looking forward to having people here and seeing all of those friendly faces back.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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