Many businesses prepare to close their doors as N.B. moves into Level 3 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan
New Brunswick is moving into Level 3 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan at 11:59 p.m. Friday, forcing many non-essential businesses to close their doors or adjust their restrictions for the next two weeks.
The owner of Magine Athletics, a gym in Fredericton, says he's struggling with the idea of taking away a safe space for clients to workout and manage their mental health.
As a new business, he says the restrictions are hard on his bottom line, as pausing client subscriptions also pauses the revenue stream.
"A lot of people want to support the gym in every which way possible but at the same time, its a global pandemic for them and times are tough so you don't want to be paying for services that they aren’t necessarily getting,” said Mick Dawson, owner of Magine Athletics.
For a CrossFit gym like Magine Athletics, there is only so many things that can be done online.
Small retail businesses are grateful to stay open but are still feeling the pressure with capacity limited to 50 per cent.
"We want you to visit our store, we want you to shop with us,” said Tyler Randall, co-owner of Endeavours & Thinkplay, an art supply store in Fredericton.
“Of course we are asking that if you are shopping with us that that is in fact what you are doing. This isn't quite the time to do any window shopping or your leisurely stroll through a small business. Unfortunately with the restrictions, we actually literally cannot afford to have folks taking up capacity,” Randall said.
Spas and salons are also required to close for the two-week change in restrictions.
Coral Shuai, owner of 301 Spa By The River in Fredericton, spent Friday fielding cancellations and rescheduling appointments for her clients.
"The biggest pressure for me as a business owner is I have several staff and I need to consider how they can survive,” Shuai said.
Shuai immigrated from China in 2016 and opened the spa in June of last year.
“Two of my staff, they are newcomers too, they have three and four kids. This is their only work they have,” Shuai said.
Shuai will have no clients and no income for her business for the next two weeks. She’s hoping people reschedule when restrictions lessen.
Until then, she’s hoping to find financial support for her newcomer employees.
Not all businesses are eligible for the New Brunswick Small Business Recovery Grant program, which was relaunched by Opportunities NB.
"That's a little bit tricky for new businesses. There's a lot you can apply for if you are in the market for two or three years but we are new, so we basically do not fit in any programs,” Shuai said.
Eligible businesses can receive a one-time payment of up to $10,000.
"There's a lot of leg work that needs to be done. A lot of accounting, a lot of behind-the-scenes work and there's so many loopholes that could take you out of the running for that support,” Dawson said.
“So, unless all your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed, there's a really good chance you don't get that support that's often broadcasted or advertised."
According to the premier, the restrictions will be in effect until Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.
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