CFL strike pauses preparation plans for Mosaic stadium vendors

Some food vendors at Mosaic Stadium are pausing preparations for the preseason as the CFL strike has potential to postpone the first exhibition game of the year.

Darren Zawyrucka owns Campfire Grill, which operates 45 tills across the concourse. The kitchens are cleaned and the concessions have passed their health inspections he said. However, he is holding back on ordering the food.

“In order to get the food that we need in and have the prep work done, we’d have to know (if the game is going ahead) by Thursday,” Zawyrucka said.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are set to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium.

However, the ongoing CFL strike could cancel the game.

The uncertainty means vendors have to be ready, or at least almost ready, to host thousands of fans in less than a week, Zawyrucka said.

“We have to be clean, we have to be prepared and make sure all the equipment is working, otherwise we just wouldn’t be ready in time,” he said.

Besides food, vendors need to make sure workers are in place.

Campfire Grill needs 150 volunteer workers to operate its concession stands on game days, according to Zawyrucka.

Staffing is a concern for vendors around the concourse, including Milu.

Luanne Truong, owner of Milu, said she might have to lay off some of her employees if CFL games are cancelled.

However, she said food and supplies are less of a concern because she can use those at their other three restaurants in the city.

“We have to make adjustments,” she said.

“There is no certainty in any events. Anything may come up just like the last two years we’ve had with COVID.”

Missing one preseason game would result in “significant revenue loss,” according to Zawyrucka.

But there will be bigger financial implications if the strike lasts longer than the preseason.

“If it carries on further into the summer, into June and July, then there are significant issues we’d have to deal with,” he said.

Zawyrucka said his catering company has built their summer schedule around Roughrider home games and there could be scheduling conflicts if games are cancelled or postponed.

Ideally, he said the strike would not impact the regular season, and if an exhibition game is missed, he hopes it can be made up in the next week or two.

CTV News reached out to the CFL to ask when the league would make a decision about Monday’s game but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

However, according to CFL insider Dave Naylor, the two sides would likely have to reach a collective bargaining agreement by Wednesday in order for Monday’s preseason game to go ahead.