As the third wave of COVID-19 continues to sweep through Ontario, the Ford government is pulling the “emergency brake” across the entire province.
For some businesses it will mean staying open, with restrictions, while for others it means another complete shutdown.
“We’re really heavily booked over the next couple of weeks, but now we have to cancel everybody,” says Steve Wallace, co-owner of Luce Hair Studio.
“So everyone, from staff to folks that come in here, are going through a really tough emotional rollercoaster right now. It’s a lot.”
Even though gyms have been ordered to close, some fitness centres are finding new ways to stay operational.
“We are running virtual fitness classes, which is what we did during the last shutdown,” says Mick MacAdoo, studio manager at Orangetheory Fitness.
“It’s basically the same great Orangetheory workout, but our members can do it from the comfort of their own home, and we have a similar setup in our studio.”
This shutdown will be different for non-essential retailers, who, in previous shutdowns, have been limited to curbside pickup. This time, they’ll be able to stay open at 25 per cent capacity.
“The government had a lot of pressure on them last lockdown — people asked why the big box stores are open when the small ones aren’t, even when we find that small businesses can adapt better and clean our spaces a lot better than box stores can,” says Chris Ellis, co-owner of Trailhead.
“It is encouraging that they’ve taken that into account and let us stay open.”
For many local businesses owners, they’re not only dealing with another financial hit due to a provincial lockdown.
During a shutdown, no money is coming in, but keeping the doors open during a pandemic also comes with an increased cost.
“The expense has been horrendous, and we can’t pass that along to clients,” says Wallace.
“The expense is too high. So we’ve been taking a hit over and over and over again.”
This province-wide shutdown is expected to last four weeks. It could be extended, though, much like the previous stay-at-home order that was issued at the end of 2020.
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