Some businesses in Ontario are preparing to reopen after struggling to survive in a prolonged lockdown
After experiencing a frustrating period when the ever-changing pandemic restrictions affected retailers and services deemed unnecessary, many Ontario businesses are preparing to reopen under certain restrictions.
As the province enters The first phase of its three-phase reopening plan On Friday, some owners stated that they had to adopt innovative methods to survive and serve customers personally again.
Debrah Menashy, owner of Toronto Loft Cycle Club Inc., will start an outdoor spinning course, which is limited to 9 riders and will be conducted in the parking lot near Broadview and Danforth Avenue in the city.
“This type of exercise requires some creativity and cash,” she said, including the cost of renting a parking lot and setting up bicycle storage containers, as well as the cost of purchasing wireless headphones, “so the entire community won’t have to listen to every class.”
“[It’s been] It has been inoperable for nearly 16 months and we are very happy to be able to do something outside,” she said when testing the equipment this week.
Scott MacKillop, the owner of Barely Bruised Books in Ottawa, is also preparing to reopen and recalled the many sacrifices he made during the lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The store had to cancel open microphone poetry nights, live music performances, an indigenous book club called All Nations and its philosophy group meetings.
One of the biggest troubles is setting up and running a new website to sell the store’s used books online. MacKillop said he spent more than $33,000 trying to continue the business, but did not generate much return on income.
“I spent all my savings,” he said.
Bars and restaurants in Toronto and other hot spots in Ontario were allowed to reopen in late March, but were forced to close again a few days later.
The first phase of the province’s reopening plan means that non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen at 15% of the capacity. There are other conditions attached to the plan:
- Only stores with street access can welcome customers into the store.
- The shops in the mall must remain closed.
- The outdoor terrace service can accommodate up to four people per table, unless they are from the same family.
- Children’s group exercises and day camps can also be restarted.
Dan Kelly, chairman and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, called on people to pressure the provincial government to “immediately open other low-risk businesses,” such as hair salons and nail salons.
These companies will not be allowed to reopen until the second step of the plan, and the plan will take effect in early July.
In a tweet on Thursday, Kelly stated that the province should also allow shopping mall stores to open, as other jurisdictions in Canada have done. He also stated that “the longest blockade in the world needs to be ended sooner.”
Let us all @fordnation Put pressure on to open other low-risk businesses immediately, including allowing malls to open stores (as in other parts of Canada), hairdressing/nail salons, and some gyms/recreation activities. The longest blockade in the world needs to end sooner.
At least one medical expert said that companies may now be able to get rid of the trend of blockade after blockade.
“The biggest difference is that we have a vaccine,” said Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the Dalarana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. “We have not yet fully vaccinated people, but we do have many people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“This is a very important mitigation tool. It helps reduce spread.”