A screaming message from a small business owner
I am a business owner of WizGolf, an indoor golf simulator facility located in Okotoks, Alberta.
WizGolf opened its door in the Fall of 2019, and several months later, we got struck by COVID-19. WizGolf has six golf simulator rooms, three private rooms, one wide-open semi-private room and two open bays side by side in over 6,500 sq. ft. of space.
I had a plan to reopen the business under a stringent policy following the Government's guidelines. I planned to operate only three private rooms and one semi-private room with a maximum of four golfers from the same household or two close contacts if they live alone. Also, as staff can control the simulator system remotely without contacting customers, I thought I could open the business under strict measures. Of course, all customers and staff have to wear facial covering at all times. Unfortunately, we have received an e-mail from AHS saying that we cannot reopen the business because Fitness-related activities are only allowed for one on one lessons between a certified instructor and a customer.
I am not writing this letter only to acclaim my sufferings from COVID-19. I am writing to say how we can go back to normal as small business owners.
Ever since the WHO's Pandemic declaration, we have experienced a massive descent to a deep and endless cliff in panic. We barely could hang on by a thread with the Government's supports.
As the painful time goes, we have also learned many 'Scientific' facts about this virus while losing many loved ones.
We have learned how they move, how they attack us, and how they spread. The scientist and doctors found that we can dramatically reduce the danger if we keep enough distancing, at least 6 feet, and cover respiratory organs: mouth and nose. This virus spreads by the human's droplet from those organs.
After almost one year of fighting the virus, now it's time to discuss how we can go back to normal and survive, avoiding its attack based on 'Scientific' fact, not by evidenceless fear. Most small business owners are barely hanging on the edge of the cliff. The "Just wait" strategy by the Government only pushes them to the edge inch by inch.
The Government has to assure the business owners have hope with a belief "nobody left behind," not step on their fingers with the "Just wait" policy.
It is not the right solution by telling us to wait until the virus disappears. It only exhausts us to give up climbing back to normal. Now is the time that we have to talk about hope not panic. Have to talk about rebuilding, not the loss. We have to sing the song of victory, not the cry of defeat.
The Government has to suggest a reopening strategy for business owners, categorized not by the forms of business but its condition they faced. For example, a movie theatre is one massive space can accommodate several hundred people. It is known as a high-risk space to spread the virus. However, there are separate entrances and exits, and masked spectators can be sitting on seats where they can make space between them. Is it impossible to sell tickets while making sure there are empty seats between each spectator?
When the Government prepares the business reopening plan, it should consider each business's condition and provide spacing and preventative measures not merely by the business category.
We, business owners, do not have enough time to wait until this unprecedented fog cleared. We have to move forward right now. "Just wait" only means "just give up," saying nobody will come to save you.