Last three open Subway restaurants in Kamloops closing to protect staff - InfoNews

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Last three open Subway restaurants in Kamloops closing to protect staff

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
April 14, 2020 - 5:00 PM

If you’re a fan of Subway restaurants, and you live in Kamloops, it’s time to become your own sandwich artist.

The owner of all nine Kamloops Subway restaurants has made the decision to indefinitely close the last three operational locations at the end of the day, April 14.

Grayden Flanagan says the decision to close the first six locations was COVID-19 pandemic related in a financial way as he was losing tens of thousands of dollars each week since mid-March.

“Our sales dropped 85 per cent in a matter of three or four days,” Flanagan says. “The bills we're accumulating far outstretch anything we’re making now… Whether we were making money or not, I’m not going to jeopardize people’s lives.”

He says around ten remaining staff members had the choice to work at the last three open locations but he changed his mind when a family friend was hospitalized with the disease.

“Last week we had a friend give us a call and explain how they had to FaceTime her husband when they put him on a ventilator, and I didn’t realize they cut your throat to put the pipe in your throat,” Flanagan says. “The doctors say he has a ‘good chance’ of surviving, and he’s my age… would you want to have a ‘good chance’ of surviving?”

The remaining locations in Lower Sahali, Dallas and in the North Shore on Fortune Drive will close at the end of the day today and he won’t reopen the stores until he knows it is safe to do so.

“I’m not reopening until I get an ‘all-clear’ because I’m not going to take the responsibility of my staff’s lives,” Flanagan says. “I’m not going to do that.”

Flanagan says he kept those last three locations open in hopes that financial assistance would be made available, but he says the government’s business loan program isn’t sustainable.

“You’re just tacking it on to the debt you’re accumulating every week,” Flanagan says. “And I’m sure there are thousands of other businesses that have had to do that. And the ones that haven’t done that, they’re taking out loans on their houses or RRSPs to help their businesses.”

Flanagan says his current COVID-19 related debt currently sits between $100,000 and $150,000. He worries that he may not be able to reopen all nine locations once life returns to normal because of the continuing financial implications, but he won’t risk endangering his 90 employees and the public with his business that he recognizes in non-essential.

Anita Johal, who owns Subway restaurants in Kelowna and West Kelowna, hasn’t immediately responded to questions about operational changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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