Winnipeg restaurants, families adapting to Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic

Thanksgiving weekend is being accompanied by a different feel amid the COVID-19 pandemic this year, from having less family members at the table to a large spike delivered meals across the city.

Dozens of restaurants used to serving up a traditional dine-in Thanksgiving meal have been forced to make changes in accordance with updated public health guidelines.

Read more: Coronavirus: Province releases guidelines for Manitobans taking part in fall events

“If we can’t host our guests ourselves here, we can at least be a part of their celebration in some way by providing the food,” says Sarah Szabo, the general manager of SMITH Restaurant, located inside the Inn at the Forks.

SMITH is offering two packages for Thanksgiving dinner, a half-turkey dinner which feeds eight, along with a full-turkey meal which takes care of 16 plates.

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The front entrance of SMITH Restaurant.
The front entrance of SMITH Restaurant. Marek Tkach / Global News

“This takeout thing is very new to us, even pre-COVID, it wasn’t something that we really did a lot of so we’re just trying to work out the kinks,” continued Szabo

The challenges Szabo mentioned include somehow whipping up over 200 pounds of turkey for meals to-go.

The dinners are being picked up at the restaurant throughout the weekend.

Read more: What’s open and closed for Thanksgiving 2020 in Winnipeg

“The turkey’s look and smell delicious so if it all goes well, we’ll maybe look again at doing it for Christmas time too.”

Many families are steering clear of gathering around the table this Thanksgiving, and it’s possible Christmas will look extremely similar as we continue adapting to celebrating holidays during the pandemic.

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Popular Winnipeg-blogger and marketing expert Susie Erjavic Parker says increased frustration, this year especially, is to be expected.

“I think it’s perfectly normal to not be OK with that. We’re not living in normal times right now, it’s OK to be sad, it’s OK to be frustrated, it’s OK to be mad.”

While public health guidelines advise against visiting with people outside your bubble, many families are expressing disappointment.

Read more: Metro Winnipeg area moving to level Orange restrictions Monday; masks to be mandatory

“I’m also hearing from people who have family members who might not be around for the next holiday, Christmas or Thanksgiving. I think that people are doing the best they can to mitigate the risks while still feeling connected to their families at this time,” she continued.

Parker says there’s still plenty of ways to boost your spirits on turkey day.

“If we can’t be together physically, we can certainly still be together over technology or virtually or even just writing letters and cards, having your kids write notes about what their thankful for, sending those off to cousins or grandparents or whoever they might be missing especially at this time.”

Click to play video 'Made-to-order Thanksgiving Dinner' Made-to-order Thanksgiving Dinner

Made-to-order Thanksgiving Dinner

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