The Town is beginning to open more of its facilities for public use, including the community centre, which was closed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The community centre is set to open Sept. 14.
The customer service desk, track and fitness area, and Sweets and Swirls Cafe are all scheduled to open that day.
Niagara Nursery School & Child Care Centre opened Tuesday.
James Cadeau and Erinn Lockard are anxious to see their cafe open and regular customers returning, although they see some of them at the market and with their weekly food delivery and pickup business, says Cadeau.
At first they thought they would be able to open this week, with the nursery school. Now they’re preparing for Monday, and hoping it doesn’t change again.
“We’re hoping nothing goes awry. Things can change very quickly.”
While it seemed “tentative” at first, he and Lockard now have had a chance to sit down with town staff and go over what is expected of them, he says.
“There are going to be a few hurdles to jump over, as far as physical distancing, but it’s not going to be difficult. We are allowed up to 50 people in our area, and that’s probably about the maximum we’d have anyway. The best news is that we’re up and running.”
Without a lot of programming going on in the building, they will open at first from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and “see how it goes,” expecting to expand as programming begins.
The same goes for Lockard’s menu. It may be limited to start, until they get a better handle on how many people use the community centre.
“We know there will be people in the building, but we don’t know what that will look like. We’re just taking it one day at a time,” says Cadeau. “The Town is in charge of the space, and we’ll follow their rules.”
The tables and chairs are being set up to allow for physical distancing, he says, and they will try to keep them that way, but traditionally groups come in for coffee and move them to suit their numbers. That will be permitted, as long as the furniture is put back in place when they’re done, he says.
Masks will have to be worn until customers get their orders and sit down.
At the moment, they are planning to continue the meal delivery and pickup — their customers want it to continue, he says, and he isn’t sure how busy they’ll be when they open. They expect to be able to do both. “It’s been an interesting experience. It was an opportunity that came along, and it turned out to be something that helped other people, We plan to keep that going as long as we can,” says Cadeau. “Businesses have to adapt to what people need and want, and we’re glad it worked. We were able to help, and it kept us alive. As we go along, we’ll adjust again.”
Community centre programming and room bookings are expected to be available beginning Oct. 5.
Hours of operation for the community centre will be Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Although some Town facilities remain closed to the public, staff will continue to provide service online and over the phone. Additional curbside dropoff (via drop box) and pickup accommodations are available, as required. To make arrangements, call 905-468-3266.