by Phil Ambroziak

This is a time to stay strong.

That’s the message at least one local business owner has for others in Meadow Lake’s small business community as she continues to exhibit optimism and adapt to the impact COVID-19 has had on her day-to-day operations.

“As of right now we’re still open – same hours and same services,” remarked Kassidy Dunsing, owner of Eatery On Main. “We haven’t taken anything away. In fact, since the coronavirus scare became more prevalent, we’ve added to our services.”

Because she understands the importance of respecting social distancing during this time, Dunsing has introduced a food delivery service at her downtown restaurant.

“Social distancing is something we should be aware of, but at the same time I don’t think we should go completely crazy and shut everything down,” she continued. “We’ve seen a slow down this week compared to last week and, yes, it is a bit scary to see how drastic that change has been, but – as a business community – it’s important we support each other as much as we can during this time of crisis. The need to support each other is huge and, at this point, I have to remain optimistic.”

Dunsing went on to say she is staying positive and encourages other businesses – big and small alike – to do the same, noting, in time, everything will blow over and begin to return to normal.

“Everyone has to do the same, no matter how difficult things may look right now,” she said.

One local business, however, that has temporarily closed its doors is Aurora Cinemas. The theatre, which reopened last spring following extensive renovations, announced this week it will remain closed until further notice.

“To our valued customers, effective Tuesday, March 17 Aurora Cinemas will be temporarily closed due to the concern about COVID-19 and to help reduce the risk in our community,” noted theatre manager Amber Ambroziak via Aurora’s social media page. “Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We will post our reopening date once it is known.”

The decision to temporarily close was a company-wide one made by Aurora’s parent company, Magic Lantern Theatres.

Meanwhile, another blow the coronavirus has made to the Meadow Lake business community is the postponement of the annual Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards (MLBEX). The gala event was originally scheduled for Friday (March 20) at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre and both Dunsing and Ambroziak – who serve on the Chamber executive – as well as their respective businesses were among this year’s finalists. A new date for MLBEX has yet to be announced.

“The Meadow Lake Chamber of Commerce board of directors has discussed and have decided to postpone the MLBEX Awards event,” noted Chamber administrator Trevor Dignean. “We believe this is the responsible decision to make for the safety of the community and area. The decision was not easy as there has been a lot of excitement building for this event. A new date will follow as the COVID-19 situation allows.”