Some Toronto shop owners reopen to customers as COVID-19 restrictions ease
Published Tuesday, May 19, 2020 5:18AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2020 12:37PM EDT
Many retail stores across Toronto have opened their doors to customers today for the first time in months as the Ontario government loosens restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the province’s first stage of restarting the economy, many additional businesses have been given the green light to reopen.
Golf courses and marinas were permitted to resume operations over the weekend and starting today, retail shops with a street entrance are allowed to reopen to the public provided that they follow strict public health guidelines.
Some of those guidelines include implementing stringent sanitation protocols and making sure customers can maintain proper physical distancing while inside the store.
Plexiglas shields have been installed in front of cash areas and customer service desks at many stores and employees at several shops will likely be required to wear masks.
Many Toronto store owners have made the necessary adjustments to their stores in order to reopen today.
Jeff Barber, who owns Toronto music store Sonic Boom, said he started preparing for reopening his business on the day he was mandated to close back in March.
Barber says only 20 customers will be allowed in the store at one time and customers are being asked to wear masks or face coverings while inside.
“The staff will have face coverings as well as gloves the whole time. (There will be an) enhanced cleaning schedule,” Barber said, adding that hand sanitizer will be provided to customers as they come in.
“We think we are prepared. We want to do it (in a way that is) very respectful of everybody’s health and we are concerned about that. It is not just to get the doors open to make money, by any means. We miss the customers.”
The owner of Doc's Leathers, located on Queen Street West, says he has been thoroughly cleaning his store and taping arrows on the floor to help people follow physical distancing guidelines.
He noted that only five people will be allowed in the store at one time.
Other Toronto store owners have indicated that they aren’t quite prepared to reopen to customers yet.
Hayley Gibson, the owner of Birds of North America, another Queen Street clothing shop, said she is still working on getting her store ready.
“It does feel a bit like we are an experiment right now because we are the first businesses to go back,” she said. “We are going to do everything we possibly can and we are just going to have to make adjustments based on how it goes.”