WELLINGTON COUNTY – Local businesses shuttered since mid-March by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are gearing up to re-open following the June 8 announcement the county is among the areas allowed to move to stage 2 of the province’s re-opening plan on June 12.
The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region is one of 24 across Ontario that will enter the second stage, which includes the reopening of restaurants and bars with outdoor dine-in services, barber shops and hair salons, shopping malls, splash pads and pools, and private campgrounds.
“We’re so excited to be opening our patio Friday night,” said Denis Craddock, general manager of the Brew House on the Grand in downtown Fergus.
“Not only will it bring a much-needed boost to our revenue stream but reopening also gives us the opportunity to bring back more staff, resume our regular hours of operation and re-engage with the community in a way that take-out/delivery didn’t allow.”
Craddock said the health and safety of customers has always been the number one priority, but staff are busy prepping the popular pub for the opening.
“We will be implementing best practices with the staff in regard to physical distancing, sanitation, and health and hygiene. Public Health has released a multitude of guidelines and resources that we will be referring to to ensure optimal safety,” he said.
“We want people to be able to enjoy a nice cold brew without worry.”
Donna Shaw, one of four hairstylists at Diane’s Beauty Salon in Mount Forest, said the salon plans to open on Monday (June 15), because it had just 72 hours to prepare following the provincial announcement of stage two.”
“It will be stressful to get caught up,” Shaw noted.
Preparation includes extensive cleaning of all surfaces, removing magazines from the waiting area, rearranging spacing for clients and staff and supplying masks and hand sanitizers and contacting clients to reschedule appointments, an issue that will be further impacted with the need to alter the workflow.
“We will have to split our working days to ensure adequate spacing for staff and clients,” Shaw said, noting that all four hairdressers cannot be in the shop at the same time.
Shaw says the phones haven’t stopped ringing.
“A lot of people consider us essential,” she said, noting it’s not just the services clients have missed, but also the social interaction.
Shaw said the business is used to regular inspections but “this is a whole different ball game.”
“It will be learning process for sure and we are learning as we go. We are following precautions and guidelines but there are a lot of grey areas as well,” she said.