Manitoba small businesses prepare for limited re-opening Saturday

Manitoba businesses are gearing up for a slow re-opening starting Saturday, when the provincial government’s new public health orders go into effect.

“It’s been about 10 weeks and we’re thrilled to get back,” Danali owner Aubrey Margolis said.

Margolis’ clothing store, like many other stores around the city, has been closed since early November.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New set of restrictions go into effect Saturday for all of Manitoba' Coronavirus: New set of restrictions go into effect Saturday for all of Manitoba

Coronavirus: New set of restrictions go into effect Saturday for all of Manitoba

However, the new orders will allow businesses to sell non-essential items, which means Danali and many other stores can once again re-open to customers.

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“People still have Christmas gifts that they want to exchange,” Margolis said. “It will be nice to have some faces and friends and clients back in the store.”

It’s been a rough year for many small businesses that have had to weather multiple lockdowns since the pandemic started in March.

“It was very frustrating,” he said. “Painful to see that the small businesses were targeted unjustly as we can make it the safest place for somebody to walk in and feel confident and comfortable.”

Read more: Proposed changes to restrictions garnering mixed reaction from Manitoba business owners

Margolis and his team launched a website with online shopping capabilities during the first lockdown and have been offering curbside pickups and local delivery.

“I’ve put on about 200 km, three or four days a week,” he laughed. “We kind of laugh in the store about how far away our clients live.

“I thought they all lived within a few blocks of the store and it would be easy to do it, but it’s a pleasure to do it.”

While stores can re-open, they will be limited to 25 per cent capacity or a maximum of 250 people, whichever is lower.

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On Tuesday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin warned this will be a gradual re-opening process.

“Certainly, the overall theme is a cautious approach,” Roussin said.

“We don’t want to go back and forth. We want to have a slow, cautious approach so we can continue reopening over time and not have to go back and close certain things again.”

Margolis said his store will be booking appointments for customers so they can ensure they are adhering to the limitations and make sure people aren’t stuck waiting in their cars or outside.

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