Local businesses react to new COVID-19 restrictions

As Quebec announces they are shutting down schools, bars and gyms, Ontario businesses begin their first week of new COVID-19 restrictions at one of the busiest times of the year.

RELATED: Quebec shutting down schools, bars, gyms as COVID-19 cases soar

Meghan Fish-Bellefleur just expanded her business in November. Now, she has to cope with a 50 per cent capacity limit for her fitness centre. Although she supports the move to protect people from COVID-19, she hopes these reintroduced measures will be short-lived.

“We are a physiotherapy company that decided to expand our business services into the fitness industry,” Fish-Bellefleur said. “We are pretty confident moving forward, I think. The concern is if they added further restrictions, which is going to reduce our capacity even further.”

Fish-Bellefleur’s concern right now is the confusion the overlapping restrictions are causing businesses and clients.

“It’s confusing for clients. They are not sure what to expect from week to week. It’s especially frustrating when you are trying to sell services.”

At the Dominion City Brewery, co-founder and president Josh McJannett said they saw the writing on the wall when the Ontario Science Table made their recommendations on Thursday, closing their tap room to protect staff and clients.

“We actually had a 30-person dinner in our tap room scheduled for Friday night, and we were looking at how things were going, and it just did not feel like the right decision to go forward with it,” McJannett said. “We just had to run the math on our own comfort and safety we thought was the right call by our staff and fans.”

The brewery has adapted to a new business model, made necessary by the pandemic. They are able to react to the new restrictions quickly, falling back on what carried them through the first lockdowns, but even with that, McJannett hopes this new lockdown is short.

“Our website became our lifeboat, and having people order and pick up through our drive-in window we installed, or taking us up on our home delivery offer, that’s been our whole business,” McJannett said. “I think this is going to be a tough road for small businesses in the absence of a wage subsidy if we are in to a period of being closed for a long time.”