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Boards n’ Beans closes permanently in downtown Regina due to coronavirus pandemic

Allison Bamford / Global News

It’s game over for a family-run café in Regina.

Boards n’ Beans lost its battle to COVID-19.

“It was a really tough decision but we decided to pull the plug on the business just because we couldn’t afford to go further into debt for it,” said Ron Carman, a spokesperson for Boards n’ Beans.

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The owners temporarily closed up shop in March due to the pandemic, but reopened earlier this month.

Under public health guidelines, the café could only fit four tables, instead of the usual 10, in order to maintain social distancing.

“We had customers, but we didn’t have anywhere near the capacity we were capable of before,” Carman said.

“We were unable to maintain what we think would be enough to (cover) all our expenses.”

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With the “unique shop” gone, Carman said it will undoubtedly leave a void in Regina’s downtown, after filling the space for nearly four years.

A labour of love

Just like playing board games, the business started as a way for Carman’s family to fill their free time.

His daughter, Stephanie, was on maternity leave in 2016. His wife, Carole, had recently retired. They were looking for something to do together.

“We’ve been avid board game players since forever and we knew that there was a need for one in Regina,” Carman said.

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Thus, Boards n’ Beans was born.

It was a simple, yet sound business model based on bringing like-minded people together.

“We wanted people to come in and unplug from their phones, become better friends and get to know each other,” Carman said.

“This younger generation is so bombarded by electronics that this gave them the opportunity to be human again.”

Over the years, Carman and Carole have met many people walking through the café doors, creating relationships they never expected.

“My wife and I are north of 50 and we got lots of time to sit down with the younger generation and talk to them,” Carman said.

Many of those conversations lasted hours, well after the café had closed for the night, according to Carman.

“There’s lots of relationships that developed here, there was a lot of first dates that happened in Boards n’ Beans. There were a lot of people that we became good friends with.”

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According to Carole, they accumulated hundreds of board games over the years.

They plan to keep some of the family favourites, but will be selling the rest to other board gamers.

After that, Carman isn’t sure what the future holds.

“People are wondering what we’re going to jump into next and my suggestion is we’re going to jump into the lake,” he said.

“We’re going to enjoy the summer and enjoy this time we have together with our family.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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