Local businesses find unique ways to stay open amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local businesses find unique ways to stay open amid COVID-19 pandemic
WatchAs bars and stores close their doors all over Vancouver Island, some local businesses are still staying open -- finding new ways to continue serving the community through this pandemic. Jasmine Bala has more.

As more stores, restaurants and bars pause operations all over Vancouver Island because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many local businesses are finding new ways to continue serving the community.

One local ice cream shop is offering a new way of ordering ice cream, in the form of a drive-thru – but for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s no touch, people can just come through,” said Autumn Maxwell, the owner of Cold Comfort, known by many as the “Ice Cream Lady.”

“We have gloved hands and pack the orders for the people and then they can just tap for payment, so there’s no cash, no touching and everyone gets a little treat.”

Cold Comfort is just one example of businesses coming up with creative ways of staying open during the pandemic.

Others have made similar moves, including restaurants like Hank’s A* Restaurant.

“Those of you who have been to Hank’s recognize that its a very small more intimate space, elbow to elbow, and as soon as they started talking about social distancing, this was not a good environment to be dining,” said Devon Revelle, co-owner of the restaurant. “It can be super fun, but not when there’s a pandemic.”

After being closed for two weeks, Hank’s, like many other restaurants, will be switching to take-out only.

“Maybe we’ll have a little table, maybe we’ll just set up a few chairs in the front and people can come collect their food from here,” Revelle said.

Book stores like Russell Books are finding their own ways to stay open, by offering a similar pick-up service through a contact-free window.

As bars across B.C. close after an order from the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, some local breweries are delivering to homes to keep their businesses running.

Meanwhile, WestCoast Appliance Gallery in Victoria is keeping their doors open.

“If you have something break down, how do you cook your food?” said Byron Loucks, president. “We have dishwashers that kill, that sanitize. We have laundry that sanitizes. So now’s the time we need to be out here. We are 100 per cent an essential business.”

It’s a way to continue offering important products while making sure everyone stays safe.

“We are cleaning, we are limiting the number of people who are coming in here, we’re making sure we’re doing everything to keep people safe,” said Byron. “If you touch an appliance, someone right behind you is coming to wipe that appliance down.”

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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