As cases of COVID-19 in Labrador continue to increase, many businesses are adapting or temporarily closing their doors in an attempt to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
This is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that it has seriously affected the Grand Pays, and residents of the region are worried.
One of the businesses that has closed for now is the North Hotel and its restaurant, Mariners’ Galley, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The owners have another hotel and restaurant in town, Hotel North 2, which is still open, and general manager Jennifer Michelin said they have temporarily closed a location for a number of reasons, including to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
Right after the holidays it’s a slack time of year for the industry anyway, she said, and when that is combined with fewer people wanting to eat out due to the issues. COVID-19, that made sense.
“It’s slow in January and people just don’t eat in the restaurant, so we thought it was best,” Michelin said.
They moved the staff to the other location, she said, where the restaurant, Jungle Jim’s and the hotel are still operating at reduced capacity.
Given that this current outbreak in Labrador is fairly recent, she said, it is difficult to say whether it will have a long-term impact or not.
“If this continues we may have to talk about the impacts, but at the moment we’re kind of under the wire,” she said.
Another Happy Valley-Goose Bay business that has decided to temporarily close is the Labrador Massage Therapy Clinic. Ingrid Lindner, owner of the clinic, said she decided to close until January 10 out of caution.
“There are a lot of cases here and I work face to face with people, in person,” she said. “It’s a very close contact and a lot of them are seniors and clients with diabetes, and right now I don’t want to put them in that danger. Right now you really can’t tell who’s positive and who isn’t.
Lindner said it seemed safer for everyone to shut down, and she will reassess the situation next week.
Julianne Griffin, CEO of the Northern Labrador Chamber of Commerce, said throughout the pandemic businesses in the region have been quick to respond and adapt and, in particular now, the chamber congratulates its members and the business community for “putting public safety first and making sure our communities feel safe and supported.”
“While many businesses experience some type of impact, all of them work diligently with significant effort and often significant expense to keep customers and communities safe while continuing to deliver products and services,” Griffin said. to SaltWire Network in an email. “Companies are now quite familiar with these impacts and continue to show great determination to serve their customers.
She said that at this point, business owners have become experts in dealing with the pandemic and have made changes such as offering curbside product pickup and delivery, and increasing their online presence.
The chamber has helped businesses navigate the pandemic with virtual sessions and information sharing related to relief funding and financial support, and will continue to fulfill this role, Griffin said.