Sudbury

Northern Ontario business owners adjust during Stage 3 of reopening

As most of Ontario has moved into Stage 3, business owners are getting used to operating their business with a lot of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of Ontario moved into Stage 3 on Friday

Most businesses in Ontario are now reopened, with a few changes due to the pandemic. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

As most of Ontario has moved into Stage 3, business owners are getting used to operating their business with a lot of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stage 3 allows restaurants to resume indoor service. Businesses such as bars, theatres and gyms can also reopen.

But there are still plenty of restrictions in place. Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people, and physical distancing protocols must be in place.

While most are looking forward to reopening, some say they'll have to change their business.

Sandy Kanwal manages Tandoori Tastes in Sudbury. That restaurant focused on its buffet service before the pandemic. Under Stage 3, buffets are not allowed to reopen.

Kanwal says he's trying to come up with a different model.

"I was thinking to get a trolley and put everything you know that comes in a buffet and by the trolley," he said. 

"And then the waitresses can go to the different tables and put meals on the plates. That's what I'm thinking and we'll figure it out if that's a possible thing to do."

Kanwal is still waiting for clarification from the health unit if he can move forward with that plan, or if he has to come up with another idea.

'Pivot' operations

Michelle Munro has already had to make many changes to her business. She's the owner and head coach at Round Two Fitness in Sudbury.

She says the pandemic has been a game-changer in the fitness industry, and adds the smaller players are looking at new ways to train clients. 
 
"Any fitness facility that's not looking to pivot their operations at this point is probably in error," she said.

Munro says that physical distancing requirements are going to force some of the big gyms to limit their enrolment. She says that could benefit smaller gyms that have already moved classes online.

"I feel that I'll be able to capture some of the market from the bigger gyms who will have limited capacity and perhaps not able to accommodate all their members," she said.

With files from Casey Stranges

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