Prince Edward Island community halls lose rental revenue due to canceled events

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COVID-19 has led to countless cancellations and community groups that normally rent spaces for events say it has been a huge loss of revenue for them.

“We missed a lot of rentals for reunions, group activities, parties, family celebrations, birthdays, weddings, it would all have stopped,” said Shari MacDonald, secretary of Milton Community Hall.

MacDonald estimates that the cancellations will mean about $ 5,000 lost.

She said it’s a big loss but the venue has been able to cope with the success of previous years.

The hall also serves as a home for the community council, which earns it regular rent.

“We’re lucky to have money in the bank,” says Shari MacDonald, secretary of Milton Community Hall. “But every little bit counts. It takes a lot to make a room work. (Laura Meader / CBC News)

MacDonald is also president of the Association of Rural Community Halls and said pandemic times have been tough for many community groups making money from room rentals.

“We are fortunate not to have long term debt,” she said. “A lot of theaters are in a worse position than we are.”

Community foundation loses thousands

The Murchison Foundation owns buildings in Summerside, Alberton and Charlottetown. Rental income is used for operating costs, but a large portion goes to the PEI Division. from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

In the past, the Murchison Center in Charlottetown has hosted events ranging from kindergarten graduation to on-the-job training, to large meetings with hundreds of people. Staff said they would normally organize around 40 events per month.

“We probably lost about 20 events a month,” says Melanie Saunders, general manager of operations at the Murchison Center. (Laura Meader / CBC News)

Melanie Saunders, chief operating officer, said the rentals generated a “significant amount” of revenue.

With many event cancellations, a part-time employee had to be laid off and the money no longer goes to ACSM.

“Our income, maybe on the rental side, has dropped from $ 40,000 to $ 50,000,” she said.

We hope that people will learn to cope with the situation we are in.– Shari MacDonald

She said she was happy they were back in operation, but rental demand is down.

“We hope to increase rentals now that we have all of our policies and procedures in place for COVID security,” Saunders said.

“We are operating on a reduced income, but we have to move forward”,

Labor-intensive operational plans

MacDonald said preparing for events takes a lot more work than before, with the various public health guidelines that must be followed.

She said they are focusing on how to do activities safely now and how to bring back the rentals.

Milton Community Hall secretary says events during the COVID-19 pandemic are smaller and largely planned. (Laura Meader / CBC News)

“Each type of activity you need to understand, how can we make it work, how can it work, is everyone okay with doing what they are supposed to do to keep people safe? ” MacDonald said.

“We hope people learn to cope with the situation we have.”

She also said that there are various programs that theaters can tap into to help fund.

The Milton Community Hall has received funding from the Canadian Red Cross as well as money from the federal government.

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