The gradual reopening plan for the province means different things to different people.
Ontario has loosened some restrictions around outdoor activities, and while golf courses and skate parks opened on Saturday, more businesses, including one in Kingston, were able to open their doors on Sunday.
Whether it’s arranging his signage or getting this year’s staff acclimatized, it was a busy morning for Andrew Kelm. He runs Ahoy Rentals, a waterfront rental equipment location.
“We weren’t expecting to open this weekend — we were under the impression, as was everyone, that the May long weekend would remain locked down.”
Kelm says despite the surprise announcement and Sunday rush, they’re ready to go. In fact, he says for him, it’s a case of one year older — one year COVID-wiser.
“Last year was a lot of uncertainty — cause we didn’t know what was going to happen. We got through the whole summer and very unexpectedly the demand was pent-up, people wanted to get outside — so I think we’re expecting that again this year,” he said.
“So in a lot of respects, we’re actually more prepared because we know what to expect.”
And while Kelm is obviously happy to be open, as a tourism team player, he also worries about others.
“We’re all in this together, right? I really do hope that the other local businesses, like restaurants and hotels, can get going because — yeah sure, I can open, but if there are no tourists coming to town to be able to eat out, stay overnight, then it kind of affects everyone. Tourism is everyone’s business — we’re all in this together.”
Pre-pandemic, tourism pumped over half a billion dollars into the Kingston economy every year.