Coronavirus: Small businesses working to reopen doors to Nova Scotians with safety in mind

Dartmouth company helping with creating safety measures
WATCH: Most businesses are now allowed to reopen on June 5 if they’re comfortable in doing so and follow approved safety protocols. Alexa MacLean has more on how those protocols may vary.

This week the provincial government gave the majority of businesses ordered to close when the pandemic first hit Nova Scotia the green light to reopen on June 5, if they’re comfortable doing so.

The other major component to reopening is that businesses must meet the approved safety protocols for their individual sectors, which range from regulated health professions like massage therapy to bars and coffee shops.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia restaurants, gyms, spas permitted to reopen June 5

In preparation for the reopening of the economy, one Nova Scotia business has been busy manufacturing protective barriers made out of Plexiglass.

“It’s pretty bland, pretty simple but I think people realize it is going to keep them safe and keep that barrier,” said Sean Court, the account manager with Beaumont Cabinets.

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Court says plexiglass orders are in high demand for places where keeping physical distance is extremely challenging.

“Massage therapists, doctor clinics, pharmacies, those were some of the first that we worked with on a large scale but now we see everyone from coffee shops, government,” Court said.

Individual businesses will have their own adaptations to meet the criteria from public health to safely reopen, whether that’s right on June 5 or afterwards.

For customers and clients, this means the days of casually going into shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments without thinking twice about following specific safety guidelines are gone.

Different businesses will have their own way of achieving safety standards.

“We’re moving some of the tables to make sure that we have room. So, to kind of keep that intimacy and that connection with our guests, we’re going to keep one of the windows as a takeout window. We’re going to relaunch online ordering for beverages and certain food products for people that maybe aren’t comfortable coming in,” said Laura Draeger, the owner of Dilly Dally Coffee Café.

Takeout window
The Dilly Dally Coffee Café has created a takeout window to allow customers to purchase orders with contactless payments at a safe distance. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to allow 10-person gatherings as no new coronavirus cases announced Friday

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Draeger’s takeout window allows people to purchase orders with contactless payments and at a safe distance.

She also plans to create more outdoor space by eliminating some of the parking lot spots formerly used for vehicles.

For other small businesses like the Church Brewing Company in Wolfville, keeping a two-metre distance isn’t as challenging.

The microbrewery and restaurant was created when a former church was renovated by owner Steve Haysom and his team.

Typically, the restaurant can seat 250 guests, but Haysom is prepared to cut that in half, if required.

As for maintaining the necessary distance, he doesn’t anticipate that being an issue.

“The space is such that we can always maintain social distancing of two metres, or six feet, and if we have to put eight feet in some parts of our establishment to make people feel comfortable, we’ll do that,” Haysom said.

The owner of the Church Brewing Company in Wolfville says the restaurant and microbrewery are large enough that physical distance can be easily maintained. Submitted/ Church Brewing Company

The key word being ‘comfortable’ for small business owners to safely start serving their communities again.

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