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Coronavirus: Uxbridge businesses still facing hurdles amid reopening

Amid reopening, some Uxbridge businesses still struggling as construction continues
WATCH: Most businesses in the region have been able to reopen for six days now, but some shop owners in Uxbridge say they're still struggling because of an ongoing construction project.

Most businesses in Durham region have been able to reopen for six days now, but some shop owners in Uxbridge, Ont., say they’re still struggling because of a new construction project that has kept customers away.

“It’s not pretty out there,” said Lee Hawn, owner and designer of The Lemonade Stand. “A lot of people get stressed out by construction, so they just don’t want to go near it.”

Read more: Downtown Uxbridge, Ont., business owners facing added stress as construction begins

In addition to the pandemic, the creative vintage studio says they are facing yet another hurdle to attracting customers, being right next to construction on the town’s new culvert installation. Crews have closed the road between Brock and Bascom streets.

“As soon as we were able to reopen our stores, the road closures started,” Hawn said.

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On top of parking issues, Hawn says the store has experienced “dirt, dust, debris and a lot of loud banging.”

Even businesses that have been able to stay open through the pandemic find the disruption worrisome.

“I’m concerned about the other businesses on the street because I know they’re not as fortunate as I am with all my customers,” said Larry Allbright, owner of The Meat Merchant.

Durham Region officially moves into Stage 2 in reopening of businesses
Durham Region officially moves into Stage 2 in reopening of businesses

Christina Curry owns Keith’s Flower Shop. She’s also the chair of the Uxbridge Business Improvement Association and says although construction has placed additional stress on businesses, once complete, the project will benefit them long-term.

Read more: ‘I feel like we were left out’: Some Durham businesses unable to join Stage 2 of reopening

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“The revitalization is something so exciting. I think mid-Brock will be unrecognizable in five years,” she said.

“Rome was not built in a day and I don’t think Uxbridge will be built in a day either.”

Mayor Dave Barton agreed, saying “we know this project has been coming for about a decade, and we had to get it done.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Durham businesses react to province’s reopening announcement

If completed on time, construction will wrap up in the fall. Owners like Hawn say they hope there aren’t any substantial delays.

“The worst part for the bottom of the Brock as we call it down here would be to have the road closure moving into Christmas time,” she said.

For now, the BIA is encouraging residents to make the effort to shop locally.