WINNIPEG — The news that Manitoba’s economy will begin reopening on May 4, was what some local business owners have been waiting for.
“We are easing restrictions on a number of retail businesses,” said Pallister during a news conference on Wednesday.
The province has put strict physical distancing measures in place that retail businesses are required to follow when they re-open.
Restaurants with patios can reopen, but will be required to maintain a distance of two meters between customers, except for brief exchanges.
John Kolevras, owner of Saffron’s Restaurant, will have to keep his dining room closed, but he’s getting his patio ready to open.
“We’re scheduling our people that want to work, and Monday we’re going to start working,” said Kolevras.
Restaurant patios must limit occupancy to 50 per cent of normal capacity, and no more than 10 people are allowed to gather at one table. Food and drinks will not be delivered directly to patrons.
Kolevras said he’s looking forward to reopening his patio – even if it’s only at half capacity.
“I’m glad we get to see a little light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association (MRFA) told CTV News that restaurants without patios were hoping for eased restrictions as well.
“We’re the first to close and the last to open now,” said Tony Siwicki, chair of the board for the MRFA. “So if you don’t have a patio, you’re still waiting.”
Siwicki said he doesn’t understand why some other retailers are allowed to open, while restaurants remain closed.
For Judy Coy, co-owner of Silver Lotus, Rooster Shoes, and Small Mercies; several retail stores in the Osborne Village area, the news came as a surprise.
She said she wasn’t expecting Pallister’s announcement.
“It surprised me, but it was a pleasant surprise, with a little bit of reservation as well,” Coy said, adding the move feels sudden for her and she wants to be cautious.
“I want to make sure the parameters they put in place we adhere to, and that other people follow the etiquette.”
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