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COVID-19: Popular Nanoose Bay restaurant, performance venue closed permanently

‘We just decided it’s not going to be worth it’
Smoke ’N Water restaurant and performance venue in Nanoose Bay has announced its closure. (Smoke ’N Water/Facebook photo)

A popular Nanoose Bay restaurant and performance venue has announced its closure, pointing to the uncertainty of the industry and the financial impacts it has already suffered due to COVID-19.

Smoke ’N Water made a post saying it would be closing permanently on May 8 — social media comments from community members poured in, saying how sad they were to see it go.

Owner Michael Scheuerman called it a difficult, but necessary decision. He’d originally planned to reopen, but dwindling takeout sales and recent announcements on restrictions pushed him to make the call.

“After sitting back and weighing all the odds of that and deciding that due to the loss of buffets, we were no longer able to serve weddings economically for the summer,” he said. “We just decided it’s not going to be worth it.”

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Scheuerman said the uncertainty of when tourism will return was also a factor in the decision to close.

“We’re a tourist-based industry in this area, without the tourism, the hotels being full, especially with us because we’re part of a resort,” he said. “It just became clear that there was absolutely no way that we were going to survive the remainder of the year, so might as well close now while we had the opportunity.”

The loss of Smoke ’N Water means one fewer venue supporting live music and arts in the area, as well as job loss. Scheuerman said he had to lay off approximately 10 regular staff – there’s also 15 to 20 seasonal staff who won’t have jobs with the establishment. He called that the “toughest part.”

As sad as it is to close down, Scheuerman said he has a slew of great memories from six years of Smoke ’N Water.

For now, he’s taking those all in and figuring out his next steps, which he said are still up in the air.

“As we pack it up and clean it up, it’s something that sticks with you – what if this didn’t come?” he said. “And what if we could open up without these restrictions, but they’re there and it’s a reality we’re facing, we had to make an economic choice.”

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