The Shelburne Legion has reopened their doors to community members, after more than a year and a half closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re happy to have the Shelburne Legion open again,” said Phil Norris, public relations officer of Branch 220. “We have had lots of feedback from the community about how happy they are that we’re open, that they can come and sit and talk with their friends.”
The Shelburne Legion officially reopened their doors and outdoor patio to the general public on July 1, after closing in March of 2020, alongside other Royal Canadian Legions across the country, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they’ve opened back up, the local legion is running on condensed hours operating only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and with executives volunteering as staff.
Veterans at the local legion are also meeting again once every two weeks.
“We’re pushing around 240 members, and because of holidays, summer time, and work schedules we realized it’s hard for people to come out but we are getting numbers out. They’re starting to come back slowly,” said Norris.
During the closure, the legion utilized grants for small businesses as well as their lottery license, and charity accounts to pay for finances associated with the building.
“We were financially helped by generous donation from the Shelburne community as well as an awesome bottle drive that Dean Schroeder, 2nd vice president, ran and took care of,” added Norris.
She said it will take some time for the legion to recover from the closure.
“Until we can fully open, we’re stilling going to be in a recovery stage,” said Norris. “In our back hall we can have up to 100 people right now, but we’re usually close to 400 we can fit in there. We’ll just have to wait.”
With the Shelburne Legion reopened, executives are now looking for community support.
“We need support from the community, attending our functions and volunteering. We’re definitely going to be needing volunteers and new blood in helping the Legion succeed and continue,” said Norris.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press