The owners of two stores in Chemainus are taking bold steps, voluntarily shutting down over concerns about COVID-19.
They say it’s not an easy call, but for them, the decision is personal.
The decision to shut down for two weeks, starting Thursday, come during a crucial sales time for the stores: Christmas in Chemainus and Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company.
“The revenues that you generate in that pre-Christmas period sometimes will be a third of the income that you’ll generate in a year, so this is a significant period of time right now,” said Ward Yeager, one of the owners.
“Out of safety concerns for our elderly parents that we’re supporting and just the rising case numbers,” said Kathy Yeager, the other owner.
“This is a busy busy time of year and to give that up you know it’s painful but at the same time, you only have one life. Your family members only have one life,” said Ward.
North Cowichan’s mayor says he understands their decision.
“It’s sad to see but I don’t think this will be the last time you see this. Businesses voluntarily saying you know what the risk right now is such that we want to mitigate that risk but shutting down for a couple of weeks but hopefully, we can get back up and running by Christmas,” said Mayor Al Siebring.
The Yeagers say they’re hoping their customers will support their decision and not spend their money online instead.
“I hope that at the point we’re back open that if they need Christmas ornaments we’re still going to be here. Small little businesses like this support the community,” said Ward.
The Yeagers say they’ll monitor Vancouver Island COVID-19 numbers and if the curve starts flattening enough they’ll reopen on Dec. 3.