Sudbury business owners prepare for Stage 3
Most of Ontario will move into Stage 3 on Friday
Business owners anxiously waiting for Stage 3 are now preparing to reopen on Friday.
On Monday, the province announced most of Ontario will move into the next phase later this week. That phase includes indoor dining in restaurants, reopening movie theatres and playgrounds, as well as indoor gyms.
Indoor gatherings of 50 people will be allowed and outdoor gatherings can be up to 100 people. Physical distancing measures must still be followed while out in public.
"We're super excited to be able to help more people get back into shape," said Troy Thompson, owner of T2 Training Systems in Sudbury.
"No matter how motivated people are to train at home and to keep it going during the pandemic, it's exciting they're going to be allowed into the gym."
He says it was difficult to shut his doors and have move his business online with virtual classes. Thompson says now that he's getting ready to reopen his physical business, he's had to make some changes.
"We have strategies in place to disinfect," he said. "Social distancing — we have markers placed everywhere. I really feel like we're prepared for this."
But not everyone is as ready to reopen even though they can.
Reopening nightclubs problematic
"It's definitely not a break-even opportunity here," Maher Khalil, the owner of SRO nightclub in downtown Sudbury said.
"But it's also an opportunity to stay relevant and to stay to our customers and clients that we still exist and we're still here."
Khalil says his expenses remain the same but fewer customers will mean less revenue — so he'll need government support on his rent.
"I'm also at the mercy of my landlord and what they want to do," he said. "They've been kind and patient with all their tenants but at the same time, they've got a business to run."
According to the province, "nightclubs are not yet safe to open, except for the purpose of serving food or drinks to patrons in accordance with the conditions that apply to restaurants and bars."
There are also restrictions on singing and dancing. The province says dancing can only be done "by someone working at the establishment with restrictions."
Khalil knows nightclubs are problematic.
"The way the places are designed, they force people to be in proximity of each other," he said.
"So everything they preach not to do with this virus is how nightclubs operate. Social distancing is definitely something you don't want to hear in a nightclub."
He says now he has to contemplate whether it's worth his while to reopen.
"People won't come out if they can't dance, if they behave the same way that they behaved in these spaces prior to this virus," he said. "I can't force people to not dance."
With files from Casey Stranges