By: Michelle Poirier

The Briars Resort & Spa in Jackson’s Point is ready to reopen on April 2, after closing mid-November due to the pandemic.

“We are excited to reopen and to serve our guests and the community again,” Kim Zhang, Vice General Manager at The Briars, said.

“It has been tough for everyone during the pandemic. We closed before the government’s lockdown because we knew how serious the virus is, and we were cautious. The decision to close was hard, but it was the correct decision to protect all our staff and guests.”

Despite revenue losses from postponed events, lower guest counts, and the resort being closed for months, Mr. Zhang remains optimistic.

Federal and provincial support programs have helped. In particular, he credits the federal wage subsidy with lowering labour costs during the pandemic, the resort’s most significant expense.

“We will bounce back,” he said. “We just need to be patient, be prepared and try our best to provide our guests with a worry-free environment when they are visiting The Briars.”

Mr. Zhang said there are a lot of plans in the works to keep guests entertained this year, including reopening the renovated indoor pool, waterfront activities, and a newly renovated patio area, which he hopes will make The Briars the number one destination for outdoor dining in Georgina.

Bob Law, Resort Manager at The Briars, said he hopes things will begin to get back to normal as the vaccine rollout moves along.

But, in the meantime, the resort has introduced enhanced health and safety measures for all staff and guests.

High-touch areas are sanitized frequently. Mask-wearing is enforced. Temperature checks are conducted when guests check-in and when staff arrive for their shift. And all staff and guests will be using a contactless screening application when they arrive.

“Everything takes longer because of these measures,” Mr. Law said.

“I want to remind everyone that our servers have to stop and wash their hands between picking up dishes at one table before they can approach another. Keep that in mind when dining out, and be patient with us. The safety of our guests and our fellow staff is top of mind.”

As of March 20, The Briars can increase its indoor dining capacity to 50 per cent, with a maximum of 50 guests.

But physical distancing measures remain in place, and only members of the same household can sit together at a table, both indoors and outdoors. Reservations will also be required.

While many had to postpone their wedding, family and corporate events last year, The Briars, according to Mr. Law, did manage to hold a few smaller weddings and events in 2020 while adhering to all provincial and local health regulations.

As the 2021 wedding season is about to kick-off, Mr. Law said The Briars would keep within the Ontario COVID-19 response framework to ensure that all regulations are adhered to during the pandemic.

This may prove challenging as the current Red Zone regulations are somewhat confusing. While an outdoor wedding ceremony can have up to 100 people, an indoor wedding reception is limited to 30 per cent capacity.

Mr. Law is also hopeful the Purple Turtle Art Festival, which features artists and artisans from Georgina and beyond, will return this July, after being cancelled last year. However, it would be subject to gathering limits under the framework.

To book a stay at The Briars or make a dining room reservation, you can call (905) 722-0001.

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