Businesses left in lockdown limbo as reopening remains questionable
LONDON, ONT. -- As COVID-19 cases remain stubbornly high in Ontario many businesses are left wondering whether they should prepare for reopening on May 20t or if their work will be for naught.
At East Park in London, it takes a small army to prepare the golf course, mini-putt, go-cart track, batting cages, and water park. And it doesn’t happen overnight said general manager Alon Shatil.
“If we’re able to open on the 20th we’ve gotta be ready to go. There’s no choice.”
While some businesses worry that reopening will be pushed back, Shatil said he’s optimistic for a reopening of its mainly outdoor recreation facility. He said even with the threat of an extended lockdown East Park can’t afford to not be ready.
“We peak out at 150, 200 staff in the peak summer. We wouldn’t be here now but we’d certainly be hiring. And we’re still hiring because like I said, we’re preparing. We’re excited to open the minute we get the okay to do so.”
The seven-day rolling average of daily COVID-19 cases now stands at about 3,432. The previous week that number was 3,810. The provincial government said its medical advisers say there needs to be a continued reduction in cases before thinking about reopening.
That’s little comfort to Curt Collins, whose family owns and operates Collins Formal Wear, a chain of clothiers in southwestern Ontario.
He said inventory needs to be ordered, staff needs to be brought back, and wedding parties need to know whether to suit up.
“For our wedding season, we would bring in a million dollars worth of rental inventory, and right now we don’t know whether to bring it in, or to let it sit, or to cancel it. The stores in the States are eating it up. So we either gotta commit to it and take it in, or let it be sold to the companies in the states, ‘cause they’re opened up for business.”
Collins said they’re waiting for word, but so far the government has not laid out benchmarks to initiate reopening.