BANFF – A popular distillery in Banff is trying to lift people’s spirits.
Park Distillery, which typically makes gin, vodka and whisky, is manufacturing 65 per cent alcohol cleaning solution for the Town of Banff’s emergency coordination centre (ECC) to help fight the global COVID-19 crisis.
Yannis Karlos, chief of operations and co-founder of Park Distillery, has been working on re-purposing the in-house distillery for more than a week to produce the cleaning solution, which is used to wipe down surfaces where the coronavirus may live.
“We wanted to help our community in this time of need,” said Yannis, noting it means the business can also still keep some people working.
“We have a unique production facility in the sense that we can provide something that can be used.”
Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said Park’s contribution to the community is “very heartwarming.”
“In times of crisis, we can rely on Banff organizations like Park Distillery to step up and deploy their energy and resources to help others in our community,” she said.
“Thank you Yannis and the team at the Banff Hospitality Collective for caring and working with the Town to help us get through this crisis.”
At this time, Park Distillery is providing the bottles to the Town of Banff’s ECC only and not distributing to the general public.
“We are not distributing to the public, though we are looking at options,” said Yannis.
So far, 250 bottles have been distributed to the ECC, with plans to drop off another big batch Friday (March 21).
Banff’s ECC is managing the storage and distribution of the limited supply of the cleaner to essential services – not individuals at this time – as required.
The ECC is contacting medical facilities, seniors centres, RCMP, firefighters and EMS staff, Banff Food Rescue and other critical institutions to determine need and distribute the cleaner.
“We decided the approach to take is to help the organizations and the people that most need it in our community,” Yannis said, noting that is why the product is being delivered to the ECC.
“That way the nursing homes, hospitals, emergency services and YWCA get the priority.”
Yannis said he believes the community will come through this crisis.
“It’s obviously very tough times, but we’re going to get through it,” he said.
“We’re lucky to have such a fantastic community and such great people giving strength to this community.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Banff Hospitality Collective made the difficult decision to close all of its businesses, which includes Park Distillery, the Balkan, El Patio, The Bison, The Bear Street Tavern, Dancing Sasquatch, the Maple Leaf, Magpie & Stump, the Eddie, Chuck’s Steakhouse and High Rollers.
“Our community is more important now than ever before, and we will get through this together,” according to the company’s website.
Organizations wanting to share supplies, or if they need supplies for essential operations, are to provide information to Banff’s ECC through this online form: https://bit.ly/ResourceCoordination
Individuals in Banff seeking assistance should email the Town's help centre at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, Alberta reported an additional 33 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 259. There are now two confirmed cases in the Canmore area, with Banff still reporting none, according geospatial data on the provincial government's website.