North Grenville has escaped the worst effects of the coronavirus, so far, for which we’re all grateful. Residents and municipal staff and council have done a really great job of keeping each other safe and healthy. Even those recent outbreaks at WalMart and Holy Cross School were initially the result of someone coming in from outside the municipality. But there is a danger that the pandemic could have other negative effects on our community, and one of those is making itself felt already.
Locally-owned businesses have been struggling with having to carry on with reduced staff, with a greater weight of responsibility in keeping their premises and customers free of infection through stringent hygiene regimes. At the same time, the volume of business they can enjoy has decreased significantly, as people are less inclined to go out to shop or dine; not to mention the reduced capacity most businesses, especially restaurants and coffee shops are allowed.
The main result of all of this is that most business owners and staff are becoming incredibly pressured, tired, almost burned out, by the effort to keep their life’s work alive. Survival is now the main goal, and that is far from assured. Many of these businesses are at the forefront of community support when it comes to fundraising and backing service clubs and the voluntary sector. Again and again, these are the people who contribute, who open their hearts and wallets to make life better for their friends and neighbours in North Grenville.
It is now time for the community to help them. There is nothing we can do to ease the restrictions and regulations under which they have to operate their business; but we can make a real and sustained effort to provide them with our business. Small coffee shops, like Geronimo and Brewed Awakening, need customers to drop by and enjoy what they have to offer. Or take out a coffee and a muffin.
Go out for a meal at a local restaurant, and enjoy the fact that we can still do that, unlike our neighbours in Ottawa, Toronto, and other places. Or order take-out, even once a week. Spread your custom around the many eateries, make it a fun activity to explore the restaurants around the municipality and see how wide a choice, and how high the quality you can find. Food and drink to suit every palate. You’ll find wonderful daily menus in this paper from Dial-A-Chef and Catered Affairs. Allow yourself some down time and pick one of their great dishes some night this week.
And there are other locally-owned businesses that we should be keeping alive, because this pandemic will pass one day, and we’ll need these businesses to be there for us when that day comes. Try To Be Continued, or Susie M’s Hidden Treasures. Remind yourself of the great meat to be had at Albert’s Meat Shop, or one of our local supermarkets, like the B&H.
We have always known that we live in a great community: one that cares and works for each other, and protects and supports the more vulnerable among us. These businesses have been there when we needed something extra from them. They have supported, fed, clothed, and taken care of us for many years. Let’s return the favour now, when they need us. Many of the people working in these businesses are very tired, very worried, very close to breaking because of this pandemic and the impact it’s had on their workplaces.
If we can be there for them now, they can be there for us when this nightmare is over. North Grenville needs us all now. Time to do our share.