Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Ucluelet chamber launches bingo contest to support local restaurants

Four Ucluelet Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs in #Ukee2go competition.

Four Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs and the only requirement to win one is to enjoy delicious food.

Ucluelet’s chamber of commerce has launched a #Ukee2go bingo contest to encourage residents to support their local restaurants. The Ucluelet Co-op donated $200 worth of gift certificates and the chamber matched that donation to offer four $100 gift certificates.

Bingo cards can be printed or downloaded off the chamber’s Facebook page—www.facebook.com/UclueletCoC—with each square representing a restaurant for participants to order take-out from. Once a card has crossed off five restaurants in a row, column or diagonal line, it can be submitted to chamberoffice@uclueletinfo.com, though receipts are required for one of the four gift certificates to be claimed.

The restaurant bingo idea was first launched by Fernie’s chamber of commerce and UCOC executive director Laurie Filgiano said Ucluelet was delighted to piggyback off the initiative.

“It’s a really awesome idea that Fernie came up with,” Filgiano told the Westerly News.

READ MORE: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

She said restaurants were hit hard by a temporary prohibition on in-house dining announced by the provincial government on March 29 as an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“What was so tough about it was that the shut down came a week before Easter on a Monday when a lot of restaurants put in orders over the weekend for their Easter rush. That really hit restaurants hard. I think a lot of businesses would have appreciated a little bit more of a heads up that this was coming,” she said. “I just can’t reiterate enough how important it is to support our restaurants right now.”

Filgiano noted that the province announced a $50 million grant program on April 8 to assist businesses impacted by the new restrictions and that several local restaurants have applied.

“That being said, we didn’t anticipate this shut down and who’s to say another one isn’t going to happen? So, regardless of the funding that’s out there from the government, it’s still so important that we support our local restaurants and our local businesses to help get them through this pandemic,” she said. “We all love our community, that’s why we live here, let’s support our businesses as much as possible right now.”

READ MORE: B.C. businesses hurt by COVID ‘circuit breaker’ can apply for grants up to $10K

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel told the Westerly he was delighted to see the contest launched, adding that his family has a bingo card on the go and is enjoying the diverse flavours the restaurant community has to offer.

“The reality is we need to make sure they’re still going to be here and lessen the negative impacts they’re experiencing at the moment,” he said. “I cannot think of one restaurant in town that I would not support, they’re all equal in their quality and their importance. They are critical to our town…We have a wonderful, wonderful selection of entrepreneurs that are providing wonderful dining experiences and in very distinct settings. Every time you go into a different restaurant here, each one of them feels different from the other.”

He added he was “surprised and frankly disappointed” by the short notice of B.C.’s March 29 announcement that restaurants would be prohibited from offering in-house dining.

“We’ve been in this for 12 months now and if the province is feeling they’re going to make big bold closures or announcements like that it’s really important to give certain groups, like the Food and Restaurant Association, a heads up,” he said. “Whether people want to hear the news or not, it’s just good to give them a script of what’s coming before us.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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