As the province of Ontario starts to relax some COVID-19 restrictions, one Sudbury business owner says it feels great to be opening back up.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford announced select retailers can start opening and allowing customers inside, as long as they adhere to the same public health measures currently in place at grocery stores.
On Friday, nurseries and garden centres will open. Hardware stores and safety supply stores can open on Saturday. On Monday, retail stores with street entrances will be able to offer curbside pickup.
Brigitte Michel, the co-owner of A & J Home Hardware in Sudbury, says she’s looking forward to opening on Saturday when customers can come inside. Since she closed her business to physical customers, she and her staff have been doing curbside pickup instead.
“We’ve been running like crazy trying to serve our customers,” she said.
“We are doing about 31,000 steps a day, each one of us. I have more staff on the floor than normal. There’s about 12 of us running all day.”
She says she’s looking forward to physically opening the doors to customers.
“It’s also great for the customers because many of them have been wanting to shop for lawn furniture and barbecues and we haven’t been able to allow them into the store,” she said.
Michel anticipates her store will be extremely busy and says the goal will be to serve customers as quickly as possible.
“People will have to be patient because there’s a lot of anxiety and people want to get out there and shop,” she said.
Keeping people safe
To adhere to physical distancing rules, Michel says rules are in place as to how many people can be in the store at once. She says 10 people will be allowed in the store at the same time and there will be rules about how many people are in each department.”
“We could probably serve one person or two in the paint department at once,” she said. “We’re going to have some dividers so people are safe.”
Michel adds customers will be reminded of good etiquette while shopping.
“We’re going to remind people kindly [not to take] an hour wandering around in the store because we’re hoping to serve other customers,” she said.
“Sometimes people struggle with that because they don’t like it when we tell them please hurry up. But we have to think of everyone else standing outside waiting to get in.”
Michel says curbside pickup will still be offered for customers who don’t want to go inside the store.