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May. 21, 2022 | Saturday
Local News
Pandemic Heroes: Patio pals pull together for Sandtrap project

Throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have been some of the hardest hit businesses.

But when restaurants were allowed by the town to set up temporary patios last year, a group of friends who frequent the Sandtrap Pub & Grill didn’t skip a beat in offering their construction skills free to help out, building a patio for the business – in one day.

For their hard work and friendly gesture, the whole group are some of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s “Pandemic Heroes.”

Reached by The Lake Report, one member of the kind crew, Andrew Ball, is humble about it. He and Levi Brant, co-workers at Old Town Building Co., took the lead on the project.

“It was literally me and Levi and then all the bar flies,” he jokes.

“Matt and Paul asked me if I could head it up and I just grabbed literally a bunch of volunteers. I took the day off work and we built it in a day for them.”

“They’re best buddies,” Ball says of Matt and Paul Dietsch, the NOTL brothers who own and operate the pub.

Ball has about 15 years’ experience in construction, and Levi five, so it was just another day’s work.

The whole crew celebrated that night, on the Trap.

“As soon as we finished that day there was, ah, lots of libation,” Ball said.

Like most who do kind deeds, they were never really looking for recognition.

“I just did it because they’re my buddies and I don’t look at myself as doing anything different than anyone else. If anyone calls me for anything I would obviously go help them. But they’re just buddies and I like to frequent the bar, so ...”

Brant feels the same way.

“It’s a small town, right? Everyone tries to help everyone, especially your buddies. And their business was obviously struggling. It was just the least we could do to help them out.”

Matt Dietsch said the patio build “was a true NOTL moment.”

“Growing up in town and seeing so many changes, it’s a great feeling knowing that there are some things that will never change — neighbours helping neighbours,” he said.

“When the province gave us the OK to open patios on the Monday for the Friday there was no shortage of hands being raised. It helped them knowing the quicker they built it the quicker they had a spot for a cold beverage. They are definitely our some of our COVID heroes.”

Paul echoed his brother's comments.

"We are extremely grateful for being a favourite among the locals. And when the town and province removed the red tape to allow patios to open to help our business open back up, we knew we could rely on our regulars who we consider personal friends as well."

"They definitely answered the call and went above and beyond. We can’t thank them enough. They are our Pandemic Heroes."