Columbia Bottle Depot remains open. Image Jen Zielinski, Black Press Media.

Kelowna bottle depot remains open despite COVID-19 concerns

The Columbia Bottle depot was busy with customers Wednesday morning

The Columbia Bottle Depot on St. Paul Street in Kelowna was a flurry of activity, Wednesday morning.

All three locations of Columbia Bottle Depot are remaining open despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly asking Canadians to stay inside and to practice social distancing if they must leave the house, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bottle depot is not only a bottle service but a recycling service as well said Clare Cassan, owner of Columbia Bottle Depot.

In addition to supplying breweries with cans and bottles, the depot recycles all products that the city doesn’t take on curbside collections such as styrofoam, glass and plastic.

Cassan explained he plans on keeping his business up and running, deeming his business an essential service for waste diversion.

“We believe that we provide an essential service for waste management,” said Cassan.

“We intend on staying open as long as we can keep everyone safe.”

Many of those using the bottle depot, on Wednesday morning, were clients of the temporary shelter Welcome Inn. Two clients, who did not wish to be named, said they come to the depot every day with bottle returns as they need the money.

They hoped the bottle depot would stay open so they can continue to make returns to help supplement their limited income.

READ MORE: Why you don’t know which B.C. city has COVID-19 cases: Interior Health explains

The bottle depot is only allowing one customer in at a time to make returns and those who have to wait outside must stand two metres apart from each other.

“We’ve had to make a number of changes to keep our employees safe and our customers safe,” said Cassan.

“We’re practicing social distancing. We limit the number of people in our depot and our staff has personal protective equipment. We have lines on the floor to keep customers away from employees.”

READ MORE: United Way launches COVID-19 response plan to support the most vulnerable

At the location on Dease Road, the depot has placed sorting tables outside the depot with separation from each other.

Cassan said he also has seen a spike in new customers due to layoffs in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, Cassan said he will be taking it day by day, monitoring government announcements and following its guidelines.


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