COVID-19 has put a grinding halt to most public get-togethers including sports events, concerts, and even to some general public services, but one industry is pressing and keeping their doors open amidst an influx of self-isolating precautions.
Bars, pubs, clubs, and nightlife establishments have yet to shut their doors, despite many of them offering a confined space to get up-close and personal with complete strangers.
While the age range errors on the side of youths in the late teens and early 20s – some of the least susceptible to the coronavirus – concerns of spreading the COVID-19 have some asking for doors to be temporarily shut.
Others who offer a much for small-scale and relaxed environment are concerned a lack of business could have a detrimental effect in the future.
Ken Nishidate, chef and co-owner of The Raving Gamer Bistro in downtown Langley, said they have experienced a number of large group cancellations and with some large groups not even showing up after they have reserved.
“This drastically affects us, as we only have 60 seats and really would like to be full all the time,” Nishidate said. “Over all, before spring break, we were starting to see a decline in business to about 15 per cent, and now we are experiencing about a 20 per cent decrease.”
Nishidate said the Raving Gamer had been prepping to be very busy over spring break, but is seeing people being extra cautious and staying out of gathering spaces.
“We too are being cautious here at the restaurant, stepping up cleaning of our menus, and surfaces, but also taking measures to be able to sanitize playing cards and board games better than we had been before,” he said. “We have always been a clean establishment but have re-focused the staff on the seriousness of this current situation.”
Some Langley businesses have said the complete opposite and seen very little change in their clientele.
The newly established Farm Country Brewing said they have not experienced any notable decline in business as a result of the corona virus, but have been proactive in letting customers know measures being taken to reduce the possibility of contamination.
Gabby’s Country Cabaret went ahead with their St. Patrick’s Day party – held several night early on the Friday before March 17th – which attracted hundreds all dressed up in green.
Concerts and various events are still scheduled throughout the months of March and April.
Though Nishidate said health is a concern, so too is the well being of employees. The owner said he worries both for the people who work hourly and will be affected by any work stoppages, as well as the future of his own business.
“As a brand new – under a year – small business, we are really fearful that if this continues, or if our staff or myself becomes ill, we will not be able to survive with all the costs that we have for operating and commitments to loans and creditors and suppliers,” Nishidate explained. “These just don’t stop if we do, so there would be no way to keep on.”
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