(Above: New outdoor display at Uprooted)
By David J. Shuman
[As the province starts to re-open, the Cooperator will be talking with businesses and organizations about how they’re changing and adapting as we move towards the post-Covid world.]
Margit Wechsler, Salmon River Country Inn
As the owner of both the Salmon River Country Inn and the attached restaurant, Margit Wechsler faces a complicated challenge while reopening. Throughout the pandemic, the restaurant has done takeout orders on limited hours. Wechsler’s first step will be opening up the deck so people can eat their takeout orders while enjoying the beautiful view.
“The tables will be open,” Wechsler says, “but there won’t be any wait staff, and no washroom access. “The safety of our guests and employees is the main goal. We’ll have hand washing stations everywhere and we now have automatic soap and hand sanitizer machines for our staff.” Her staff will be sanitizing the deck tables regularly, and promoting social distancing among customers.
Wechsler says she’s trying to stay ahead of the curve, but knows that it could be a while before the vibrant dining room is packed again. “It’s not about who makes the money,” she says. “It’s about who stays safe. I understand why people might be unwilling to go out yet. I would be home right now too if I didn’t have a business.”
Once the takeout-outdoor deck arrangement is working, she’s looking to add home delivery to accommodate more customers.
Sam McKenna, Lawrencetown Beach Cafe
Sam McKenna opened the Lawrencetown Beach Café at the Macdonald House last July, taking over the previous tearoom space. McKenna prides himself on supporting local farmers. “We’re going to start with takeout,” he says. “I’m ordering from local farms as much as possible.”
Mckenna said that support from different levels of government had been very helpful. “I got the Nova Scotia Bridge grant, which we really needed,” he says. “I’m also looking into the wage subsidy [CEWS] program to help keep staff.
He says that he’s hoping to open up in mid-June at reduced capacity, and that he’s glad to see everyone is coming together and supporting local. “I’m pretty blessed to be in Nova Scotia, lucky to be in a community like this one.”
Emma Murphy, Uprooted Market and Café
Emma Murphy, owner of Uprooted Market and Cafe, didn’t waste any time starting up with online shopping and pick-up, and then delivery. “People are really finding online shopping to be convenient,” says Murphy. “It really helps improve the accessibility of local food for the Eastern Shore. That’s been my goal since the beginning of the business.”
Murphy’s quick adaptation saved the business from a sharp drop in revenue. But that very success disqualified the business from any of the provincial or federal support programs.
“I am very grateful for all of our customers who have stuck with us through all of this,” Murphy says, “but it is unfortunate that we won’t have any assistance with the reopening costs. You could never budget for any of this.”
Murphy will be starting a take-out operation soon, and has built a half door for her main door to serve as a take-out window. There will also be a display of market items and produce in the window for easy of shopping. She also plans to keep offering the online ordering and delivery services.