Bradford business community is ‘resilient’ through coronavirus pandemic
Businesses are being forced to adapt to a changing environment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The owners of Paradigm Martial Arts in Bradford didn’t hesitate to move their classes online when they closed their doors because of physical distancing requirements.
“We just knew we had to keep our students engaged,” said head instructor Kyle Stephenson.
Normally jiu jitsu is a grappling martial art, which would seem like a tough thing to move online, but Stephenson and his team was up to the task.
“We’re used to wrestling with each other. So, we’ve had to completely revamp our curriculum. There’s a lot of solo drills you can do in jiu jitsu as well but we also started doing some striking as well,” he said.
The online schedule for the gym is roughly the same as what it was doing before the coronavirus outbreak.
“My partner and I, we come to the gym and we stand in front of a camera and we talk with the kids and teach them the lesson from home,” Stephenson said.
The videos are live so the instructors can interact with their students, he added.
“We do a lot of interactive stuff too. So, we’ll get the kids to help us count out the repetitions or we’ll have them demonstrate a move,” Stephenson said. “They have a lot of fun with it.” Check out our Virtual Classes.
There’s been a drop in people attending classes online compared to in-person, but Stephenson is hopeful their classes will continue to keep students engaged.
“I’m super proud of all the kids for sticking through it and showing up to the classes. They are still able to progress even though they’re just doing it at home without a partner. There’s still so much you can do to build your muscle memory, your strength and endurance,” Stephenson said.
Paradigm Martial Arts isn’t the only business in Bradford adapting to changing times.
“We’ve got a pretty resilient business community here,” said Michael Kemp, economic development officer and marketing co-ordinator with Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Kemp said local businesses are doing innovative things to stay viable through the pandemic.
“Many people got online and doing e-commerce very quickly,” Kemp said. “Things like that are very encouraging. Very good to see that people are making the best of a tough situation.”
The town of Bradford West Gwillimbury has implemented several business relief programs including the deferral of Community Improvement Program loans for one year and free business consulting and assistance with government programs.
Town council also approved an emergency business sustainability fund at the beginning of April where $250,000 in total funding was made available to local small businesses.
“We launched that program within about two weeks of everybody going home with the coronavirus lockdown. We had the money 90 per cent distributed within three weeks,” Kemp said.