Teresa Townsley, a Tourism Langley board member and owner of Festina Lente Estate Winery in South Langley, says the community can still support local business amid the coronavirus outbreak by ordering items for delivery. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)

Langley restaurant and tourism industry see ‘significant drop’ in business after COVID-19 outbreak

Local businesses struggle

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted a number of organizations around the globe, and the effects of the pandemic are seemingly also being felt by Langley’s restaurant and tourism industry.

Festina Lente Estate Winery has seen an 80 per cent decline in visitors since concerns about COVID-19 increased.

“My company is advertising that we deliver on social media much more frequently right now,” said Teresa Townsley, owner of the local winery in South Langley and Tourism Langley board member.

The industry relies on face-to-face interactions, she explained.

“If customers are no longer going out, then the entire industry is affected. We have already experienced a significant drop in projected sales over the previous year.”

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Provincial health authorities have recommended people work from home to help migrate the risk of infection, but Townsley said that isn’t an option for some.

“The food and beverage industry [is] heavily reliant on dedicated staff and those staff are unable to work from home as in other industries,” she said. “The threat of COVID-19 and self-isolation threatens to reduce not only the customer base, but could significantly impact the staff available to work.”

With the cancellation of several events there is cause to be concerned about the future of local businesses in the community, Townsley noted.

“There is certainly going to be an impact to the bottom line of stakeholders in the food and beverage sector,” she said.

There are still ways the community can support local business in a safe way, Townsley noted.

“Check online for the busy times and perhaps visit during off-peak hours if you wish to avoid crowds,” she suggested. “Many businesses are offering delivery options if you would prefer to stay home and we ask that you consider purchasing gift certificates that you can enjoy later on when COVID-19 is a distant memory.”

Delivery services like SkipTheDishes are “taking additional precautions.”

“We have encourages our restaurant partners to seal all takeout bags,” the company said in a statement.

In addition, SkipTheDishes is rolling out “contactless delivery,” where customers can leave a note to ask the driver to leave their order at the door.

“Make sure you use the live order tracker and collect your food when it’s marker as ‘delivered,’” the statement continued.

Meanwhile, businesses in downtown Langley are also noticing a change in foot traffic.

“I can’t say for sure if it’s because of COVID-19, as historically the first three months of the year are less busy than other times of the year, but I can confirm that it’s definitely quiet downtown.,” said Teri James, executive director of the Downtown Langley Business Association.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Latest news from Langley, B.C., and around the world

But Brogan’s Diner has noticed an unusual decline in restaurant goers since concerns about COVID-19 spiked.

“Last night we were quiet,” said Shannon Brogan, owner of the restaurant.

Something that is out of character for the family diner at 20555 56th Ave. in Langley City.

Brogan said they have been disinfecting tables, chairs and the floor more often.

“And all our regulars know that,” she noted.

Employees have been advised to stay home should they experience any symptoms of the flu.

“I’m kind of happy that people are stepping back and taking it serious,” she said.

But Brogan is hoping the pandemic is resolved quickly so they can get back to business as usual.


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