There is something to be said about living in a small town, especially one known as “the community with a heart.”
Restaurateurs across the Alberni Valley all said the same thing as they reopened their indoor dining spaces at the end of May: they are grateful for community members who held them up when they needed it most.
When residents could no longer sit inside restaurants, they put on their jackets and sat on patios. They modified their weekly food budgets to include paying for takeout from various eateries, which means those same eateries were able to keep afloat during British Columbia’s COVID-19 “circuit breaker.”
When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry clamped down to try and stem growing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, she did so knowing that businesses would once again be threatened by closures and restrictions. It was an unfortunate side-effect, but it needed to be done, she said.
The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce started a bingo game that offered prizes for people who filled out a bingo line with receipts from restaurants where they ordered takeout. One community member earned special recognition for visiting every single eatery on the card—some of them more than once.
While the pandemic may have stopped many things, it could not pause businesses like Wildflower Bakeshop and Café and Alberni Brewing that were in the process of opening when COVID-19 restrictions hit. Even Dog Mountain Brewing, which opened right before the pandemic was announced in March 2020, has survived its first year in business.
The owners all gave a bow to the community that saved them: the community with a heart.
A lot of credit needs to be given to the entrepreneurs who pivoted—a popular catchphrase as we progress through our second year with coronavirus. Their efforts to stay in business, continuing to give Port Alberni residents hospitality and retail options, have been noted.
Hopefully the COVID-19 circuit breaker worked, and businesses won’t have to face anymore closures.
— Alberni Valley News