Grand opening, grand closing.
Popular Winnipeg ice cream hot spot Bridge Drive-In (BDI) opened for the season on Friday as a makeshift drive-thru due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the lineup was causing traffic snarls in the Fort Rouge neighbourhood, BDI quickly closed its doors again.
Owner Justin Jacob told 680 CJOB the summer staple — which was already faced with opening for the season weeks after its usual start date — is looking at other options so that it can continue operations during the coronavirus crisis.
“We’re going to see if we can come up with a more pedestrian-friendly plan and eliminate the traffic,” said Jacob.
“Our main concern is that if we eliminate parking in our own parking lot, the parking’s probably going to be moving out to Jubilee Avenue and then we’re going to be facing traffic issues all over again.”
Jacob said he knew the idea wasn’t going to work when the dessert stand hit its peak busy time on Saturday and Sunday evening and traffic was backed up all the way down Jubilee Avenue.
He said BDI plans to re-evaluate and reopen to modified pedestrian traffic with social-distancing measures in place.
“It’s a little bit discouraging because there were even other small business operators that threw in comments, and you would think that community would stick together and support each other trying to come up with ideas to try to be operational again,” Jacob said.
Jacob said BDI is planning on donating the ice cream the business is not selling to Victoria General Hospital.
A City of Winnipeg spokesperson didn’t provide specifics on the BDI situation but said the city is working with businesses to find solutions during this unusual time.
“The city is employing a flexible approach with all businesses attempting to re-establish at a very challenging time,” the spokesperson said.
“Staff will work with them to find service delivery models that allow them to operate without posing any significant impacts to the local community.”