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'It’s a wait and see game': Reopening plans not clear for all businesses yet
SURREY, B.C. -- While some businesses have started to reopen in new ways now that the province has eased restrictions as part of Phase 2 of its reopening plan, others are still waiting.
Not all industries have guidelines from the government just yet. While some have found ways to adapt until that happens, for others, the path forward isn’t as clear.
For the last two months, the Funplex indoor children’s play-place in Surrey has been quiet ever since closing March 16 due to the pandemic.
Owner and manager Raj Bhullar said it’s been tough.
"We still have to pay our rent and other expenses," Bhullar said, and added the family-run business chose to keep paying its employees "from the beginning."
"We would love to open as soon as we can. We miss Funplex. We miss our customers," she said.
Lately they’ve started to get inquiries from customers asking when they’ll reopen. The answer at this point: not yet.
"It’s hard for us to social distance between the kids," Bhullar said. "You can’t ask little ones to stay away from each other, you know, six feet apart."
Bhullar adds because kids are constantly on the move, sanitizing each toy immediately after use would also be difficult.
"We do have a possibility of hosting one party a day, but that won’t be enough to cover the cost," Bhullar said.
Back to the movies?
While most movie theatres still aren’t open, that isn’t the case at the Dunbar Theatre in Vancouver. Owner Ken Charko said they are offering private showings limited to one household group only, and takeout concession items.
"We’re running shows, private shows, for family units from 11 in the morning till midnight," Charko told CTV News Vancouver, and added the theatre hasn’t had to lay off any employees. "We’ve adapted to what our customers need."
Charko, who is also with the industry group the Motion Picture Theatre Association of B.C., expects it may be the end of June before theatres reopen to wider audiences.
"They’re just finalizing all the protocols to be able to do that," Charko said, and added the association will be submitting guidelines for the province’s consideration as well. "But it fundamentally starts with this: contact tracing, so we’re going to know who comes into our theatre now. Two, social distancing, so you’re not going to be sitting next to anyone. And family unit, so the people sitting next to you are your family unit."
Charko said at his theatre, seats are cleaned before and after the show.
"We’ve learned a lot of things along the way to make sure that we can do it safely," Charko said, and added so far the response has been "tremendous."
The way forward
For Funplex, the timeline is less clear, but Bhullar said they want to make sure they reopen in the safest way possible, when it’s possible.
"We’re pretty optimistic. We would love to open as soon as we can. We do have a strong customer base that we want to serve," Bhullar said. "For the time being, over the summer, it’s a wait and see game."