Ottawa businesses hit hard by COVID-19 eager to reopen

Many Ottawa business are looking forward to reopening and getting back to work. What will Ontario's first stage of reopening look like?

Premier Ford unveiled Ontario's first stage of economic recovery Thursday

Starting next week, pet groomers will be allowed to operate in Ontario as part of Ontario's first stage of reopening. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Many Ottawa businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are looking forward to getting back to work.

On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the launch of the province's first phase of reopening the economy. 

It comes after the province ordered all non-essential stores and services to close in March, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The first phase — one of three — will see businesses like marinas, golf courses, pet groomers and private campgrounds begin to open this weekend.

Last month, the government said each phase will last at least two to four weeks.

Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips explains why his government thinks now is the right time for Ontario to start inching towards life post-pandemic. 13:52

Local businesses ready 

Mike Copeland, general manager and co-owner of Pine View Golf Course, said his business is down hundreds of thousands of dollars because of COVID-19 closures.

While it won't be a great year financially, Copeland said he's happy to be finally be opening.

Mike Copeland, general manager of Pine View Golf Course, says physical distancing is “almost built into the sport,” so staff will be focused on avoiding lineups during check-in and organizing online payment. 0:48

Jayme Montero owns Purrdy Paws Pet Grooming Spa on Bank Street. She said her phone has been ringing off the hook since the premier made his announcement Thursday afternoon.

Montero said she's glad the province is allowing groomers to reopen since so many pet owners depend on her services.

"It was the animals that really suffered during these last two months," she said.

"We were unable to to reach a lot of our clients in the community that are especially vulnerable: seniors that don't drive [and] people with disabilities people that don't have a vehicle."

Mike Cox, who manages the Port of Call Marina in Dunrobin, said there were high hopes his business would do better this year. 

Flooding and a tornado have caused both the marina and the local economy to suffer greatly. 

WATCH: How the pandemic has affected a rural west Ottawa marina

Mike Cox, manager of the Port of Call Marina, says the last few years have been tough for the business and staff were looking forward to a better year in 2020. But with the pandemic, they haven’t been able to make the comeback they had planned. 0:55

Phase 1: What's resuming — and when

Saturday, May 16

  • Marinas and boat clubs.
  • Golf driving ranges.
  • Private parks and campgrounds.
  • Businesses that board animals.

Tuesday, May 19

  • Retail stores that aren't in malls (with strict physical distancing measures in place).
  • Outdoor sports fields, tennis courts and off-leash dog parks.
  • Pet care, including grooming and training.
  • Certain medical services such as scheduled surgeries and in-person counselling.
  • Construction projects.
  • Libraries (pickup only).
  • Domestic services like housecleaning and cooking.
We check in with Ottawa area businesses who'll be opening up on Saturday 13:20

With files from Stu Mills

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