This website tells you how long the lines are at Metro Vancouver stores
With COVID-19 altering many aspects of day-to-day life, one change the pandemic has brought is lineups outside almost any store.
Mae Woods and Pan Khandtidhara wanted to help Metro Vancouver residents navigate these shifts more smoothly, so they created a website that shows just how long the lines are at stores.
The site, howbsy.com – or "how busy," but without the u – lists several stores across the region, along with their estimated wait times. Khandtidhara built the site in a matter of days and Woods had a family member drive around and test the site on the morning it went live.
The site launched on April 24, and Woods said they had more than 20,000 people visit it in the first week.
"I think everybody is frustrated here about how long the lines are during COVID," she told CTV News Vancouver.
Woods said she thinks their site will still be needed even if some restrictions start lifting, especially because physical distancing measures will likely still be in a place.
"We hope to still be able to help, even when things lighten up," she said.
Woods says the most popular store is Costco, and she often gets several emails a day from people thanking her for the site.
"We're not somebody who's on the frontlines right now or the heroes in the medical field, so we did what we could and it's just amazing seeing the community using our platform to help each other," she said.
"We really just built the platform but it's the community that's helping each other through this because our website relies on user input."
Woods said with the site's quick popularity, they're looking to expand. They've recently added Victoria and Kelowna to their list and hope to eventually include parts of Alberta and Ontario.