The second phase of Manitoba’s reopening begins on Monday, June 1, and though it’s a step in the direction of normalcy, it isn’t necessarily all good news for businesses.
According to Jonathan Alward, director of the Prairie Region of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, reopening is a good thing, but it’s still far from perfect. He explained it puts businesses in the position to not lose as much money as they were earlier in the pandemic, but it doesn’t mean normal levels of service or income.
“If you look at restaurants, many aren’t viable at only 50 per cent occupancy, but it’s good news and we can all see Phase Three coming if we all continue what we’ve been doing well so far,” he said.
Though a number of non-essential businesses will be permitted to open on Monday, such as nail salons, tattoo parlours and gyms, they must do so under strict guidelines mandated by the government,
Alward said the biggest restriction impacting businesses is occupancy limits.
You’re still looking at many fewer customers coming in the door,” he said.
“Staff and customers are going to be very well spaced out so everyone can keep their physical distancing in check.”
Alward noted some other rules that affect personal services include screening clients before they come in and enhanced cleaning protocols.
“I think everyone listening in should feel very safe going out, you know to support any of these businesses starting today,” he said on Monday’s CTV Morning Live.
Alward said though some services may be allowed to open, it doesn’t mean they won’t be struggling.
“Even if you look at long-term camps, you know a lot of businesses are still seeing restrictions on who they can bring in,” he said.
“It’s encouraging that campgrounds and lodges up north can start to reopen today but they can’t see a lot of their customers come in from the U.S. or a lot of tourism-based are still going to be hurting.
This is why, Alward said, it’s critical to shop locally.
“A lot of businesses, even if they do decide to open up today or this week or at some point they have everything in order, they’re still going to be losing money, they’re still going to need that help desperately, they’re still want to bring on more staff, “ he said.
“Supporting local is a way to help them. But gift cards if you don’t feel comfortable order of the phone, you can still do curbside pickup or order online in many cases.”
THE GOOD NEWS
Though the second phase of opening has its limitations, Alward said it’s most good news, especially for businesses that haven’t been able to make any money over the last few months.
“If you look at a lot of those personal services, even tattoo parlours, they haven’t been able to earn anything over the last two months,” he said.
“So certainly this is going to be some good news for them.”
- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.