Brad Campeau, the owner of Brew Donkey Tours, answers a few frequently asked questions on the restart of service after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Q: So Brad, it’s been an interesting few months, when are you reopening?
A: We are opening July 24th for our first tour with 10 tickets per trip.Q: How is the reopening of Brew Donkey Tours going to be done?
A: The reopening of Brew Donkey is going to be done by listening to all of our partners: customers, breweries and our bus company. We will spend a total of six weeks from mid-June till July 24th making sure we get it right. Of course even after reopening, we will continue to keep people safe and keep these safety measures ongoing.Q: How was Brew Donkey Tours affected?
A: We were not allowed to run buses, we were unable to sell tickets, and the idea of giving or buying a gift card was really really slowed down.
On top of that, we also had no revenue during the shutdown, but still had expenses. We did our best to stay active on our social media channels so that people knew we were not going to fold because of this. However, we are looking forward to coming back and providing a safe and fun experience for our partners.
Q: What safety precautions have you set?
A: We are making sure we have the right safety protocols to make both our customers and our destinations safe. When we do open, the numbers will be limited to a group size that is deemed safe by public health officials.
The destinations will have specific parameters per brewery and we will have special procedures to keep our staff safe and our customers safe during the bus transportation.
Q: What are these procedures?
A: It’s adjusting as we go forward as we listen to customers and listen to health officials as they change things week-to-week. It includes things such as:
- Hand Sanitizing between stops
- Serving food only in pre-sealed packages
- Loading of the bus from back to front and unloading front to back
- Masks while on the bus and any situation where they are indoors I.E at a brewery
- No handshakes or high fives
- Getting rid of lanyards
- Monitoring customers before they attend the tour to ensure they feel well
You can find the complete and recently updated list of COVID-19 Protocols here: https://www.brewdonkey.ca/pages/brew-donkey-tours-covid-19-safety-protocolsQ: Will these safety procedures be permanent?
A: We will continue to adjust them as we see notices from health and safety organizations. We know there’s no going back to what we were - our groups have always been 25 people or less on a large bus - so there’s always been a lot of room for people. That being said we're will be sure people are safely distant with our reduced capacity.
Our hope is to get to a point where people can be comfortable and not be encumbered to enjoy beverages. But, some of these things are very important to take care of - the safety parameters keep our communities healthy.
Q: Do you know what breweries are going to be open during the tours?
A: Breweries and other industries were given a 4-day window to open and figure it all out. But, we are taking the next six weeks to let you know there will be a bus on the 24th, 25th and 26th of July - and we hope there are certain breweries - but we do have to wait till they give us confirmation.
So everything is about communication and making sure our partners are comfortable. We have trips that will be a Brew Donkey experience, but they will not be set as the route until we get confirmation with our breweries. However, they will be guaranteed to have entertainment, education, bad dad jokes and beverage alcohol that will make you feel wonderful!
Q: What did you miss the most about working?
A: Being active and busy with what I love. I didn’t realize how much I missed the mundane answering of emails. I missed answering customer questions, sorting out a destination when one was no longer able and finding a new one - which even though it wasn’t happy or great work, it’s exciting work.
Q: How did COVID-19 affect you emotionally?
A: I do want everybody to understand that this is a small business and it’s operated by me primarily so the emotional repercussions of having a business be forced into an economic coma is hard.
It was hard on me personally to see something I’ve built over the past six years with a lot of long days, efforts and a lot of passion be turned off instantly with no reason other than a global pandemic - and knowing there’s nothing that could be done.
I spent many weeks attempting to be positive then gave up on that and went dark. Eventually, I just got to a point of not beating myself up anymore and not being depressed but instead being comfortable with time off, enjoying the time off - but to do that I had to turn off all work.
Every time I worked on the business and saw no gain or future options I knew I had to get positive again and had to stop thinking about work and communicating about the business.
It was only after 4-6 weeks of that that we were lucky enough to get the news that we were able to reopen. We get to work just like we did six years ago. It’s exhilarating in a positive way and it’s gonna take a lot out of me, but I had three months of doing nothing so I’m ready to put the work in.
Q: What do you look forward to the most upon reopening?
A: I look forward to seeing the smiling faces, listen to brewers tell their stories and be surprised at the beer the customers didn’t know they loved.
Our business has always been about watching people enjoy themselves and taking them by surprise; finding out this isn’t just a drinking tour, but that it’s a learning and experience based tour. We’ve always loved that and I can’t wait for the first load of smiling faces I see when they’re sitting and drinking beer - we won’t see how happy they will be on the bus because their mask will be covering their faces.
We are looking forward to reopening, despite the interesting months we’ve had, we are safe and know people are going to have lots of fun amidst it all. We are incredibly excited to tackle new challenges with you and look forward to providing entertainment, education and of course lots of beer!
Still have questions or safety concerns? Get in contact with us today and we will find the best ways to accommodate your needs!https://www.brewdonkey.ca/pages/contact-us