Following months of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shops and restaurants in Mission are welcoming Calgarians back to 4th Street with their #wethefourth campaign — which businesses are so far calling a success.
According to the 4th Street BIA, the campaign’s name — a play on the “We the North” slogan synonymous with the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA championship playoff run and victory — is meant to represent the “determined, hard-working and invested” spirit of the people of 4th Street S.W. who, like many other Calgarians, are facing a second major crisis in just seven years.
“The resilience of this business community during a time of crisis speaks volumes — like in 2013 with Calgary floods and today with COVID-19,” said BIA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Remple in a press release.
“The board and I agreed this is a great time to press the reset button and pay homage to the strength of the residents and business owners that call 4th Street home.”
As part of the campaign, the BIA is helping businesses to roll out the welcome mats and ensure public safety by providing signage to encourage physical distancing, as well as displaying welcome back messages and installing hand sanitizer dispensers.
Meanwhile, business owners like Vin Room Mission’s Phoebe Fung, have taken even greater steps to ensure the health and safety of staff and guests. Her business is providing complimentary hand sanitizer, offering a choice of either an electronic, disposable or clean reusable menu and has increased sanitization of high-touch areas. There are also fewer staff per shift to reduce contact and regular temperature checks.
Fung believes the #wethefourth campaign has been successful thus far, in part because guests are impressed by the steps taken to protect public health.
“I think that they are not only happy that 4th Street is open for business but that many businesses, like myself, have taken extraordinary measures to make sure that they can come back to a safe environment.”
4th street features
It’s not just customers who are benefitting from the reopening campaign. As a 4th Street BIA board member, Fung was tasked with handing out welcome mats and decals to neighbouring businesses, reconnecting her with the street and its occupants.
“It’s given me an opportunity to walk the street and meet some new business owners and to get reacquainted with some existing ones.”
As a long-time occupant of the street, Fung has trouble naming just one thing that makes 4th Street so special but says the variety of independent businesses, its walkability and the four dog-friendly outdoor patios (including the one at Vin Room Mission) located on the street are some of her favourite features.
“I think the beautiful thing about [4th Street] in this COVID-19 world is if you need to get out, here’s a great opportunity to be able to walk comfortably down 4th Street and walk with your family and your four-legged friends.”