Some Brandon businesses spent Friday preparing to reopen their doors to customers as eased provincial health restrictions came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Under the revised COVID-19 restrictions, barbershops, hairdressers, retail stores and non-regulated health services can open again in Manitoba, except in the Northern Health Region. The businesses that do open can also now sell non-essential items.
At Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop at Shoppers Mall, owner Chad Cumming said he spent the day getting the final pieces into place before opening the barber shop’s doors again.
"We’ve been waiting and ready for it all along here. We had only anticipated a few weeks, maybe a month, of being closed but we’re pretty much ready to go," he said.
Restrictions closing all businesses but those deemed essential by the province took effect in mid-November, meaning stores and services were closed for eight weeks.
Reopening is an anxious feeling, Cummings said, but something everyone is looking forward to.
"It’s good to be open again … we’ve been through this with our staff before and we’ll go through it with them again in the morning before we open. We were following the procedures all along, so things won’t really be any different, just a matter of getting going again," he said.
The shop won’t look any different inside than when it closed in November, Cummings said. Customers will be asked to wait in their cars before their appointment and there will be plastic sheets hanging between barber’s chairs.
"We’re excited to see everybody again and it’s nice, I’m really happy for my staff here to get back to work," said Cumming.
"I’m just excited to see everybody it will be nice. I know it’s different, we can’t hang out in the backroom like we used to but it’s still nice to get to see everybody again and hear some laughs."
Recovery Skate Shop owner Taber Collens said he is also excited to open his doors once again to Brandon’s skating enthusiasts.
"I’m excited, just to actually get to see people again and actually in the shop, doing my thing," he said.
The store was open for curbside pickup for the past weeks but having people in the store is better.
"Everyone that skates wants to support us, so we did real well, people really came through with that," he said.
When the store reopens there will only be five people allowed in the store at once, he said, along with hand sanitizing and making sure people wear face masks.
"I just want to urge people to support local as much as possible," said Collens.
"Even if it’s not me, just local businesses in general. I know there’s definitely some that are hurting right now because of the lockdown, so definitely get out and support now that they’re open."
Donna Woodhouse, owner of Hair Pro Barbers, said she was feeling good about reopening on Saturday morning. She spent Friday moving things around, getting towels organized in anticipation of opening her doors again.
While it’s been a slow start so far, she said she’s looking forward to getting the first customers back in her chair and will follow all health guidelines.
The current health restrictions are set to be reviewed in three weeks.
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