PEI

Many Cavendish businesses opening for uncertain summer season

Many stores and attractions in Cavendish, P.E.I., are reopening for this summer season, preparing for an uncertain time during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement of the Atlantic provinces bubble helped some decide to open

Many businesses in the Cavendish area will be opening up for the 2020 summer season. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Many stores and attractions in Cavendish, P.E.I., are reopening for this summer season, preparing for an uncertain time during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

All of the businesses on the Cavendish Boardwalk are planning to open — including a brand new shop. Some have been open for the past two weeks.

Others made the decision to open after the Atlantic bubble was announced on Wednesday.

The owner of the Cavendish Boardwalk expects this summer will be one for the history books, but not in the way they'd hoped. 

'Survival season'

"I guess we're terming it as a survival season," said Peter Fullerton, property manager of Avonlea Village and the Cavendish Boardwalk.

 "We're looking at making sure that the tenants are successful and that they will survive and next year, hopefully, we'll be back to normal."

Peter Fullerton, property manager of the Cavendish Boardwalk, says it will be a different sort of season to deal with all the public health restrictions. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Room Escape Cavendish — an indoor puzzle game — is planning to reopen for the season on Friday.

Staff there are running through the puzzles a final time to make sure everything works before they open their doors.

The announcement of the bubble — and the possibility of tourists from other Atlantic provinces — helped ease their worries. 

Chris Richard, room designer at Room Escape Cavendish, says it is nice to have the certainty of having tourists, at least from the other Atlantic provinces this summer. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

"There's definitely some worry just because we do rely so heavily on tourists. We are a seasonal business. We're not open all year round. We need to have a lot of things happen in a short amount of time," said Chris Richard, room designer at Room Escape Cavendish.

"So if we were only open just to Islanders there would still be people coming in, but definitely wouldn't be as good as with the bubble announcement."

Important to 'try to open'

Maritime Fun Group, which operates around 20 different food services and attractions in the region, is working on its reopening plans as well.

Staff are testing rides at Sandspit Amusement Park before it opens on Friday. There will be many changes, including a limited number of people allowed in the park.

Maritime Fun Group's president said he doesn't know what the summer will be like. 

Matthew Jelley, president of the Maritime Fun Group, says the decision to open this year was a difficult one. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

"It's not a question of whether or not we will be profitable. It's a question of whether or not we'll lose less money by opening than by staying closed," said Matthew Jelley, president of the Maritime Fun Group.

"And after 31 years in this business, I don't know the answer to that question this year but for us, for our employees, for our customers, for the other businesses that depend on us, it was important that we take the procedures that we can and try to open."

All of the businesses CBC spoke to on with Thursday said the newly formed Atlantic bubble will be a big help.

But, ensuring they follow all the health requirements, and without tourists from other places like Ontario, Quebec and the United States, they still expect a quieter season ahead.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Travis Kingdon

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