Businesses glad to reopen but look forward to further loosening of restrictions

WINNIPEG — It’s been three months since public health restrictions forced non-essential businesses to close their doors to the public, but the province is slowly reopening, and this week tattoo shops and gyms got the go-ahead to open at a reduced capacity.

Manager of Soul Survivor Body Art, a tattoo shop in Osborne Village, Shawn Beatty said the lockdowns have been difficult for him and his staff.

He said when the province announced they could reopen, he got to work contacting clients.

“We had three months of appointments to rebook over four tattooers and two piercers, so there’s quite a backlog of people to approach,” said Beatty.

Beatty said opening at 25 per cent capacity is tough and may hinder business, but he’d rather be open than closed.

“We’re glad to be open, but it’s been very challenging for us, so I can imagine what other businesses are going through,” he said.

Paul Taylor, owner of Brickhouse Gym in St. James, is training a client in person for the first time in months.

He said exercise is essential to your physical and mental health and believes gyms are ready to reopen beyond 25 per cent capacity.

“(Gyms operate in) really large spaces, they’re the size of grocery stores with infinitely less people in them even at 100 per cent capacity, so I think it’s going to be very easy for us to operate and not have any issues, but the proof is in the pudding,” he said

Taylor is using this as an opportunity to prove his business is safe enough to operate at 100 per cent capacity.

On Friday, Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said COVID-19 case numbers dictate how the province decides to reopen, and not every industry is prepared to be open to the public.

“We hear from people that sectors are very safe, and we can get back to everything we want to do because everyone knows what to do and how safe it is. November and December showed us that’s not the case,” said Roussin.

Beatty is hopeful he’ll be able to reopen at full capacity in due time.

“As long as we take it gradually and no one gets crazy, I think we’re going to be fine. We’ll get a handle on COVID and figure out how to deal with it properly,” he said.

Nail salons also got the green light to reopen at 25 per cent capacity, as well as museums, art galleries, and libraries.

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