Thursday, June 11, 2020
Dear RA Community,
As you can appreciate, planning the way through this crisis for a diverse and community based not for profit is definitely not without its challenges, the most difficult of which is the fact that we control very few variables. As Canada’s economy begins to reopen and provincial restrictions ease, the risk associated with where we are as an organization and as a community remains extremely high.
As we think about reopening, there are numerous risks to be considered all under the concern that there may be a second or third wave.
First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of our members, clients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. We need to ensure we can safely move people around and that we can adapt the activities and amenities and implement protocols that adhere to emergency orders, workplace safety measures and guidelines set out by public health authorities (limited capacities, disinfection and sanitation requirements and physical distancing). As you can appreciate the highly social environment that is the fabric of the RA community, our large campus, aging facility, popular programs and people centric services do not lend well to these types of restrictions.
Secondly, we must return to operations in a cash flow positive manner. Meaning we can’t just start a little bit here and little bit there and risk not generating at least a cash flow neutral return. We know that we can’t assume that we will have the same number of individuals and participants when we do return to play. We reached out to a variety of our users and asked who would be comfortable returning to play in early or mid-July. For a whole variety of reasons (health care providers, secondary health issues, caregivers, vulnerable population) a large number indicated that they were not prepared to return this summer. Not surprisingly, this unease is consistent with other empirical, evidence-based surveys conducted by industry leaders. In fact, a mere 30% is the likely return rate in the current context.
We have to bake all of these risks into our assumptions when we are looking at our financial recovery and take a conservative view as to what that is going to look like. As an autonomous not-for-profit Association we must make sure that as operations resume, that we do so in a financially responsible manner.
The RA Board of Directors and the RA’s senior team remain focused on preparing to bring the operations back in a prudent, slow and methodical manner. We anticipate that this recovery will be phased in over a considerable length of time. Still today we have not qualified for any specific aid program other than the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and even at that, we’ve been somewhat limited in how we can apply it.
Having carefully weighed all the associated risks, we have made the decision that we will not be proceeding with summer camps this year. We will also not be proceeding with any outdoor leagues during July and August but will reassess whether we can launch a fall league program. In fact, the building will remain closed until the beginning of September, when we hope to be in a position to welcome a number of modified programs and services to our members. At this time, the House of Sport remains open to our sport partners, the RA Physiotherapy & Massage Therapy clinic is now open for appointments and the RA Canoe and Camping Club is proceeding with a modified program this summer.
In order to prepare for a return to play in September, we anticipate bringing program staff back throughout August and will be working with all of our club executives to determine the appropriate modifications and timing for a safe return. You will all be receiving additional info on the treatment of your account. Please continue your patience as we make our way through a large volume of refunds or credits.
Upon re-opening, the RA will be different, that much we do know but our community of members, partners, volunteers and staff will remain the heart of the Association. We are truly blessed to have such a caring and compassionate community and we appreciate every message and show of support that we have and continue to receive. Please know that we are working tirelessly to ensure that we will have our beloved RA to return to once we emerge from this crisis "Stronger Together".
We hope you are remaining safe, supported and healthy. We look forward to seeing you again!