Businesses in New Brunswick have been anything but busy with the entire province back in the orange phase of public health’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
While most businesses are taking a financial hit, some are finding creative ways to still offer their services at a time when things are anything but normal.
Moco Restaurant in downtown Fredericton has had to become inventive to keep their business afloat.
Restaurants can remain open under New Brunswick’s orange phase, but only people who are in the same household bubble can sit together.
While that has kept Moco from closing their doors completely, they’re nowhere near filling their social distanced seats like they could under the yellow phase.
“We’ve had to adjust our business model during orange,” says co-owner Shawna Foster. “In-house dining has been extremely slow, which is to be expected, so in order to bump that up we came up with some custom bundles for take-out only.”
People staying home to stop the spread of the province’s latest outbreak means major cutbacks for restaurants and other businesses.
“We’ve adjusted our hours. The lunch time crowd is generally people working downtown, so they would come in with their coworkers, and we just don’t have that business, so we’ve decided to close for lunch during the orange phase and just focus on our dining room and take-out,” says Foster.
Even during normal times, winter can be a slow season for many people in the hospitality business.
At Fredericton’s Brennan’s Bed and Breakfast, business has come to a grinding halt, as few people need a place to stay with orange phase rules restricting people from travelling between regions in the province.
The five bedroom B&B has already reduced their capacity to three rooms for COVID compliance, and the owner needed to cancel all bookings this week due to the increased restrictions.
“It pretty much such us down,” says owner John Brennan. “It’s bad enough when we’re just in yellow phase, certainly since they’ve restricted travel and not made it easy from outside the province. But when it goes to orange, we’re completely shut down.”
Brennan says business has been down about 80 per cent this year, but he is grateful for assistance for small business owners provided the federal, provincial and municipal governments.