The Little Tavern Pizza Project in Calgary was shut down by Alberta Health Services when a health inspector walked in on the restaurant serving laid-off employees, according to the restaurant’s manager Keith Luce.

The health inspector’s report states that the restaurant was providing dine-in food service to the public, and patrons from different households were seated fewer than two metres apart. The inspector’s report says the diners were provided with a “self-service buffet” and alcohol.

However, Luce says the diners were actually employees and fewer than 10 people were present.

“That was the day we were basically laying out plans for our shutdown, and giving them their official layoff letter,” said Luce. “And then there was food we were testing for our new carry-away menu.”

Luce says the restaurant was “trying to do something nice for people we were laying off” by letting the employees try the new menu.

“If there was a mistake made, for sure, the fact that we put that food out on a table,” he said. “I guess that was short-sighted.”

The restaurant was ordered to close its dining room on Dec. 23.

Alberta announced a mandatory closure of all dine-in service at restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes on Dec. 13. Restaurants can only provide take-away and delivery service.

The restaurant has laid off 10 employees because of the lockdown restrictions in Alberta. The Little Tavern Pizza Project is still in operation but only providing take-away services.

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