Evraz Place feeling the impact of COVID-19 pandemic
REGINA -- It's been a challenging start to the year for Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) as the event based not-for-profit deals with constant postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19.
On March 20, the province issued a State of Emergency which included a list of restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including eventually limiting the size of gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
"Essentially our business changed over night," said Tim Reid, President and CEO of REAL. "About 85 per cent of our revenue went away the moment of that announcement being made."
All operations at Evraz Place have been suspended for the month of April which included the 2020 First Nations University Spring Powwow and the Home and Garden Trade Show.
The biggest upcoming event REAL is concerned about at this time is the Canada Farm Progress Show in June.
"It's a massive tourism event for our city, but the Farm show is also a huge component of revenue for us. So we're looking at what happens to that show that's run for the last 42 years straight and this may be the first year we look at postponing that show," said Reid.
When it comes to the CFL's announcement about postponing the start of its regular season, Reid said he's disappointed but not surprised and understands tough decisions need to be made for health and safety.
"It certainly gives us a sense that this challenge, this battle that we are all facing with COVID-19 is not going to end soon and when we talk about cancellations heading into the month of July that really affects our business."
The chance that more events are cancelled or postponed later in the summer is a reality the Mayor says the City is preparing for as well.
"Speaking with my counterparts around the country at the City's Mayor Caucus, they are talking about doing nothing into July and even August," said Michael Fougere, Mayor of Regina.
"Just shutting down any activities at all public events, including Canada Day celebrations. Some people are wondering maybe that won't happen either."
The REAL team is currently working on a plan to get through the rest of this year, though Reid adds it could take years to get back to 2020 budget numbers.