Relief and frustration: Local winners and losers react to province's staged reopening plan
LONDON, ONT. -- Summer-like weather leading into the long weekend has local businesses desperate to reopen outdoor activities, but the province has only given a few the green light.
“We’re going to touch a million dollars in losses. It’s not just golf, it’s weddings, graduations, charity tournaments,” explains Walt Spivak, owner of The Oaks and FireRock golf courses.
Gambling that golf courses would receive the green light to reopen, the The Oaks and FireRock began booking tee times several days ago for the long weekend.
Reservations to golf were quickly snatched up.
Spivak says he wanted to minimize the risk that a province-wide online booking system would crash.
“We need people to get outside and do some healthy activities, and a golf course is the best place to do that,” he adds.
But the provincial reopening won’t permit restaurants and bars to reopen patios until mid-June.
“If we were open, this patio would be full,” says Jeff Rowe, an owner of the Old South Pub.
The province estimates the vaccination and infection criteria to begin Step One of reopening will be met on June 14, including patio dining for tables of four.
Rowe was hoping to open his patio after the stay at home order expires June 2, so it will be another disappointing delay for his staff and customers.
“How do we get over this as quick as possible? Get back to whatever we are going to call normal now?” he adds.