Businesses in Durham Region are preparing to reopen after the province announced it will begin easing restrictions.
While it is welcome news, it’s still not clear where the region will land on Ontario’s colour-coded system and what limitations will still be in place.
“I’m optimistic but cautiously optimistic,” said Gavin Clark, Vintage 905 co-owner.
Clark has been selling vintage clothing in downtown Whitby for over three years.
“We bring lots of old nostalgia in especially with vintage clothing, it’s something you want to experience and you actually want to go and look at and try on,” said Clark.
For much of this year, Clark’s been forced to put his products online, but he says it’s not the same. So the potential to reopen in a week has him excited, even if it’s at just 25-per cent capacity.
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“It’s not ideal. It’s better than zero-per cent capacity, which we’ve been dealing with right now,” said Clark.
Since Boxing Day, Diana Moore has been forced to return to delivery and takeout at her Eggsmart restaurant. She says making that switch has a trickle-down effect.
“Staffing levels change, inventory levels change — it definitely affects cashflow, so again, it’s been very hard to plan and run a business,” said Moore.
Right now, Moore’s not sure if she’ll be able to reopen next Tuesday and she says that’s hindering her ability to prepare.
“A business is only as strong as it’s leader and you have to give clear direction to be able to run a successful business and we just need that clear direction,” said Moore.
Meanwhile, Durham’s Medical Officer of Health says the region’s daily case numbers over the past week show that Durham is ready to reopen.
“The metrics (show) we’re going in the right direction, it appears that the shutdown has had its desired affect. So not a surprise, and I’m sure for many who have suffered under the shutdown, (it’s) welcome that we’re returning to the response framework,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health.
Before this lockdown began, Durham was in the red zone. If that’s where the region is placed again, there will still be strict limits on shopping, dinning out and indoor gatherings. But the province has not made its decision public yet.
As for Gavin Clark, he’s just hoping this lockdown is the last one, knowing the government can turn the switch back at any time.
“We’ve kind of been in and out a couple times, I really hope this is the one where everyone can safely open, all the businesses can get back to doing their thing,” said Clark.