Prince Albert Legion reopens after pandemic causes 6-month closure

Remembrance Day service at armoury cancelled, but small group still laying wreaths

(Jason Kerr/Daily Herald)

The Prince Albert Legion has reopened its doors after temporarily closing for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s good to be open because all of the time when we were closed, we’d run into some of our members out on the street or at stores and they were all wondering when we were going to be open,” said President Rick Hodgson.

Things won’t carry on like normal, though, as the legion follows guidelines from the provincial government and the Saskatchewan command’s head office. This includes regular cleaning and physical distancing measures.

The lounge has resumed its regular hours from 12 to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Everyone must sign in before entering.

Saturday suppers start up again on Sept. 19 with table service rather than the usual buffet.

“We got through the summer and everything was good and we just kind of picked the date after the September long weekend because you had to make the move sooner or later if you wanted to reopen,” said Hodgson.

“We picked that date, and we’re reopening slowly here.”

The Government of Saskatchewan allowed bars, restaurants and lounges to reopen at 50 per cent capacity on June 8.

Back in May, after the legion announced the cancellation of its Canada Day event in Kinsmen Park, Hodgson said they wouldn’t be reopening on that date. He said they wanted to be cautious because they mostly serve seniors, who are more at-risk when contracting the virus.

The public Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11—which typically packs the Prince Albert Armoury—has been cancelled. Hodgson encouraged people to continue donating to the poppy fund when the campaign begins in late October, which helps support veterans.

“We’ve got two cenotaphs in town where we will take a small group of our colour party and a couple of us from the legion and maybe a veteran and we’ll still pay our respects by laying a couple of wreaths at each cenotaph,” he said.

The legion also won’t be hosting the large lunch that typically takes place after the service. The lounge will still be open for people to stop by, but the amount of people allowed in will be restricted.

Hodgson said he’s currently unsure if the legion will host a virtual service.