Some Moncton, Campbellton region businesses close under tighter restrictions
'It’s very devastating for the region,' says Campbellton restaurant owner
Businesses in two regions of New Brunswick are facing new pressures due to tighter public health restrictions.
On Friday, the Campbellton region (Zone 5) and the Moncton region (Zone 1) were pushed back into the orange recovery phase after experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19.
The changes mean "close contact personal services," such as barbers and hair stylists, must close.
Anne-Poirier Basque, the executive director of Downtown Moncton Centre-ville, said businesses were already struggling under the pressures of the pandemic.
"It's very discouraging," she said. "But I think it's going to just accentuate the economic loss already felt by these small businesses."
Basque said this is a busy time of year for spas preparing for the Christmas holidays. "It's a time that is very, very difficult for them to be closed all of a sudden."
Loss of customers
The news was tough for small businesses in the Campbellton region, which went back to orange restrictions for the second time.
"It's very devastating for the region," said Luc Couturier, president of Downtown Campbellton Centre-ville.
The area is also facing the loss of customers from the bubble with the Avignon Regional Municipality in Quebec. That ended in late September in response to an uptick in cases in that region.
Couturier owns a local restaurant that employs 20 people. He lost 50 per cent of his sales in two days.
"People fear so they go out less," he said.
Barbers, hair salons, spas shut down
In the orange zones, food, retail, and beverage businesses can continue to operate under COVID-19 operational plans.
But gyms, fitness facilities and recreational centres, casinos, amusement centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas and large live-performance venues have to close.
The sudden switch back to orange means some small business owners in the personal service industry had to close unexpectedly.
Geneviève Nolet, the president of Usva Spa Nordik in Moncton, said the stress level was lower after already experiencing a forced closure at the start of the pandemic.
"We're trying to stay optimistic," she said. "We hope that people will work together so that it will pass as quickly as possible and we can restart our operations."
The spa already had few customers given the rise in cases and a travel advisory for the Moncton region.
Couturier said he understands the need for public health restrictions, but the provincial government has "done nothing" to support small operations.
"There needs to be a moment where you realize if you don't help small businesses in New Brunswick, it's everyone that will suffer.
Wedding planner left scrambling
The Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time for weddings. Couples and wedding planners have had to make last-minute decisions.
Brenda MacAulay, the owner of Lloyd's of Moncton, said a few clients were still deciding Saturday if they would move forward.
"It was shocking," she said. "I think most people knew the second round was coming, but it all happened so fast."
Under the orange phase restrictions, indoor and outdoor weddings must be limited to 10 people or fewer.
MacAulay said some couples continued with reduced attendance, some have cancelled, while others were undecided.
"Trying to choose 10 people is a difficult choice," she said.
One couple decided to get married at the last minute on Friday evening to beat orange phase midnight deadline.
Wildcats cancel game
New Brunswickers are advised to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of the Campbellton and Moncton regions.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League postponed a game between the Moncton Wildcats and the Saint John Sea Dogs on Saturday. It was scheduled to take place in Saint John and would have required the Wildcats to travel outside of the orange zone.
Organized sports are not allowed under the orange phase. Sport and recreational facilities are also required to close.
The game is postponed until further notice.
With files from Radio-Canada
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