Long lines outside Ottawa stores as non-essential retail opens in Step 1

Shoppers were greeted by long lines outside stores across Ottawa on Friday, as non-essential retailers opened their doors for in-person shopping for the first time in nine weeks.

"It's exciting, to be cooped up for so long and to finally be able to go out safely," said one shopper. "Everyone is very respectful, everyone is very nice."

Long lines were reported at stores across the city, with people looking to buy summer clothing and other items following the stay-at-home order. Some shoppers told CTV News Ottawa they spent over an hour waiting in line to shop.

"We expected it. We set our alarms this morning to be here on time," said one shopper. "I think we waited about an hour, hour and a half at the first store."

Another shopper said they were shopping, "just to feel normal, have the freedom."

Under Ontario's Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen plan, non-essential businesses are allowed to open at 15 per cent capacity. Essential retailers are allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity, including discount and big box stores.

At Tanger Outlets in Ottawa's west-end, dozens of people stood in line outside several stores, including Under Armour, Roots and Aerie.

At South Keys, there were long lines outside both the Winners and HomeSense Stores Friday morning.

The @WINNERS @HomeSenseCanada lines are no joke this morning now that stores are open in Ontario #ottnews #ontariolockdownover #ottawashops pic.twitter.com/pfkCi0Yvul

— Olivia (@inspiringolivia) June 11, 2021

Non-essential retailers have been closed since April 8, when Ontario imposed a stay-at-home order in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

At Kunstadt Sports, employees were welcoming patrons back.

"We’ve had tons of people coming in looking for new rackets, getting them strung up, couple biked dropped off as well," said Erik Dinardo, manager of Kunstadt Sports. "We expect it will be even more tomorrow heading into the weekend as well."