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William Alexander owner of the Muskoka Drive-In, one of the oldest Canadian Drive In theatres still in operation wrote the below Facebook post to his customers on May 22.
“Not sure what to say here. All the Ontario Drive Ins have banded together and have come up with plans to protect our customers & staff which was submitted to the government. Each of the Drive Ins have spent many hours & thousands of dollars to be Covid ready. We still have no answers or indications of when we get to open, yet Drive Ins located in other provinces were some of the first businesses to open. Ontario Drive In theatres seem to all have the support of the local government to open. The public seem to get that we are perfectly suited to be a socially distanced haven. Many have proposed events like school graduations. Drive In weddings, charity events, concerts, etc. People seem to see us as a community hub for safe distancing events because we are naturally set up to so on acres of land and yet ... the government does not see it ... but yet they seem to really see the merit in golf courses. Oh well at least those in the Niagara Falls area can strain their heads to look over the border & see the Buffalo Drive In, it got the go ahead to open a week ago. At least that's close to Ontario. If you would like to see Drive In's opened then please send a note to Premier Ford's email firstname.lastname@example.org or MPP Norm Miller email email@example.com.”
Alexander noted that he has reached out to Miller’s office “a few times and haven't heard directly from him so far.”
Alexander has addressed COVID-19 measures and has implemented health and safety procedure. He like thousands of other self employed business owners has also further invested into a business which has been ordered closed in order to accommodate the “new normal.” Now he needs revenue to keep that business alive.
He said that “for the snack bar we have completely retrofitted it by making the counter smaller and pushing it back to allow for 6' social distancing and about 8 people inside and the rest socially distanced outside. The washrooms have all gone touchless with faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers. Seat covers have also been added. Air curtains to keep doors open but the bugs out. We will close the middle stall in the ladies and one urinal in the men's limited to 2 people at a time while others wait outside socially distanced. You sanitize before you go in and wash before you leave which is more than Walmart is doing with their washrooms. Staff will do a stall wipe down every 10 mins. We will also open the Drive In earlier to allow more time for the washrooms or snack bar. Again no easy feat and expensive upgrades all done to protect staff and customers.”
Muskoka Post has reached out to Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly for comment and progress on the opening of the Drive-In. Kelly said he has been working with Alexander behind the scenes for the past couple of weeks. Kelly confirmed that he has been in contact with Miller‘s staff and Muskoka District Chair John Klinck.
“Norm consequently is very aware of the problem,” said Kelly who noted that Klinck was also pursuing avenues to assist the business.
By the response from residents to the Muskoka Drive In Facebook post it seems that Miller has plenty of constituent reading to sort through following the weekend. Perhaps then he could be persuaded to talk to his boss or at the very least personally respond back to and reach out to a local business owner who pays the MPP’s salary through hard earned tax dollars and is looking for answers in incredibly uncertain times. Where is the leadership? but above all respect?