Some businesses struggling amid red tier restrictions

Some local business owners said they're struggling to stay open amid current red tier restrictions.

Waterloo Region will remain in the red tier of the province's reopening framework next week.

Josh Brooks, general manager of Ctrl V arcade, said bookings are down as many people stay home.

"There certainly hasn't been the same traffic that we have seen, that we are used to," he said. "It's scary, sometimes, to be here with nobody here."

The facility reopened its doors when the stay-at-home order lifted on Feb. 16. However, three weeks later, Brooks said things aren't looking good.

"We are not certain that we can survive for very much longer, given the restrictions that are in place," he said.

Other franchise locations in Brantford, North York and Mississauga closed their doors for good during the pandemic.

"So far we are managing, but I don't think it's forever at this point," Brooks said.

Mark's Caribbean Kitchen in Kitchener is open for takeout and indoor dining.

"Red is OK," Mark Vaughn said. "It's not the greatest, but prevention is better than cure, so we just have to go with what we have now and just hold on."

The restaurant has reduced hours to follow provincial guidelines.

Gyms can offer classes for up to 10 people, who are all physically distanced.

"A lot of our regular members prior to COVID, most of them have returned," said Joanne Mittelholtz with Crossfit Kitchener. "Some of them are doing Zoom classes, they are not quite ready to come back yet."

She said capping classes at 10 people has limited the gym financially.

"I think having the government support programs for small businesses has kept a lot of us afloat while we work through the pandemic," Mittelholtz said.

Staff hope to see a decline in COVID-19 cases so the region can move out of the red tier sooner rather than later.