May 25th, 2024

Businesses, residents disappointed with continued lockdown


By Greg Bobinec on January 27, 2021.

The Movie Mill says they're not surprised, but they are disappointed that they haven't yet been able to reopen with safety measures in place as before the current restrictions. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

LETHBRIDGE HERALDgbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Many local businesses and community members were not surprised, but disappointed that much commerce and many activities are still shut down.
While many large corporate stores have been able to operate with packed parking lots, and restrictions have been lifted on personal services such as tattoo, piercing and hair salons being able to operate by appointment only, members of the community are wondering why entertainment, gyms, galleries and museums aren’t being opened on the same basis.
“I am very happy that some personal service businesses were able to open and support themselves again, but my family needs activities, they have been cooped-up too long with not much to do,” says city resident Carrie Stewart.
“For people’s mental health, it would be nice to see similar restrictions on physical activities or community centres for people to get out safely.”
Adapting to the many changes throughout the pandemic, businesses have found many ways to still provide some services to their customers to keep business going.
Owner of The Movie Mill, Leonard Binning says they weren’t anticipating reopening, but he was disappointed as they were able to operate safely before.
“I wasn’t necessarily anticipating reopening soon, but it was a bit disappointing.
“You go near places like Costco and see the parking lots full and hearing of the numbers in there and having heard the numbers at the mall over Christmas, I wasn’t surprised we didn’t get the green light,” says Binning.
“We feel like we were offering a really clean environment for people to come to the movies, and they said that they feel as safe or more safe at the theatre over many other places, especially under the 20 per cent occupancy and spacing out the show times.
“There was never a congregation of people, they were very socially distanced and wearing their masks, I just see no logical reason to see why we are still closed.”
With being closed or restricted for the better part of last year, Binning says staffing is quite low and the few who are still currently employed are struggling with reduced hours.
“There are a few that are happy to not work at the moment because the government is taking good care of them, as part-time employees,” says Binning.
“Certainly my full-time staff and more mature staff are very disappointed. We are operating at about a third of our staffing capacity which is tough on everybody and it seems like my full-time job has been to manoeuvre government to paperwork for subsidies and grants in an effort to supplement our pick-up and takeout to survive.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lethbridge has given local businesses support, and as it continues Binning says he is humbled and looks forward to welcoming the community back in.
“I am still very humbled because the support really has continued, the community is a very strong supporter. Obviously, this doesn’t replace our revenues, but every little bit counts whether it’s a third or a half of where we were, it helps to keep our doors open and we look forward to reopening as long as we are taking proper precautions,” says Binning.
Local businesses are hoping alternative ways of operation will come soon as the community continues to pull together to stop the spread.

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