“We cut back a bit our operational hours,” said Jason Ryu, who owns and manages the facility as well as the adjacent Bergen Road Liquor Store.
Although business has for the most part remained steady at the liquor store, Ryu said that revenues at the depot were down by about half.
“That’s my largest concern now,” he said.
“But we’re still trying to serve local customers.”
Due to the substantial drop in revenue, Ryu said the decision was made in late March to cut hours back. Whereas he previously had four employees — one full-time and three part-time — he has for the time being let go of a part-time employee, a Grade 12 student who used to work Saturdays.
He plans to increase hours once it gets busier, “but for now, it is what it is.”
Although the bottle depot remains open Tuesday to Saturday as always, hours have been revised to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as opposed to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We’re going to continue this approach for now and see.”
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However, if business remains slow and revenues down after the snow melts and temperatures warm up, Ryu said he might have to consider cutting back the number of days the depot is open.
Meanwhile, as part of the effort to protect his employees and the public, he said staff recently started wearing masks.
“And we always use gloves.”
Lines have also been placed on the floor to help ensure people are able to safely distance themselves from others. Additionally, a maximum limit of four customers is allowed in the facility at any given time, he said.
“I think distancing is the most important thing now.”
Customers don’t even seem to mind, and have been complying, he said.
“They understand what’s happening.”
He encourages everyone to continue following official guidelines from provincial and federal health authorities, and hopes people stay safe and take care of themselves and one another.
Anyone who has a growing accumulation of beverage containers that needs to be cleared out, but who might also be reluctant to walk in to the depot, is still welcome to drop off a load for sorting. They can then return later to pick up their money instead of waiting in line until everything is sorted and counted, he said.
“We always do that.”
Ryu said people who have any questions can call 403-638-9335.