Ray Magnuson, owner of Smoke and Sow, stands outside his food truck in Rotary Park in Whitehorse on May 24, 2018. Magnuson will have his usual spot at Rotary Park for the 2020 food truck season, although amid the COVID-19 pandemic, venders are unsure of what season will look like. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

City readies for another food truck season

Physical distance will be encouraged

Food truck owners in Whitehorse are getting set for another — likely very different — season.

The City of Whitehorse is continuing with its April 6 application deadline for four available city sites amid the changing circumstances COVID-19 is bringing. The other four sites have already been spoken for under the city process that makes them available first to last year’s tenants. Already confirmed are food truck tenants at two sites at Rotary Park and another two at the waterfront wharf. Up for grabs through the April 6 application are another three at the Third and Steele Street parking lot and one other site at the wharf.

A total of six parties have downloaded the application as of March 31.

Questioned about moving forward with the applications in the midst of the global pandemic, city spokesperson Myles Dolphin pointed out the territory’s chief medical officer of health Brendan Hanley is permitting take-out and delivery from restaurants.

“Since food trucks are take-out by nature, they will be able to vend on public sites,” Dolphin stated in an March 30 email. “We will be sharing messaging with mobile food vendors before the season starts to encourage physical distancing among their customers using signage.”

Smoke and Sow owner Raymond Magnuson had confirmed in February he would get his previous site at Rotary Park back this year under a clause that gives him first right of refusal on his previous site. He had begun planning for the season ahead of the extensive changes brought on by COVID-19 throughout the territory, country and around the world.

“We are in the same boat as the rest of Canada,” Magnuson stated in an email. “Everything is changing so quickly that we really have no idea what this week, let alone this year, will look like. We are hopeful that it will be business as usual, but are preparing for a much different season.”

Different revenue streams are being explored to help keep “the doors open”.

Right now, that means partnering with friends who operate Wood Street Ramen to come up with take-out options from both restaurants. The online ordering service is expected to launch Thursday.

“Depending on how well that is received we may expand that program from brisket, pork and turkey by the (pound) into full meal kits with things like cornbread and baked beans,” Magnuson said.

Smoke and Sow has also been working towards opening a brick and mortar restaurant, though details aren’t being released just yet.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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