Some Manitoba businesses take a cautious approach to reopening

WINNIPEG — Some businesses, which were closed for months because of the pandemic, were able to reopen their doors on Friday, but they’re doing so at just 25 per cent capacity, along with other strict rules.

Restaurants and lounges were among those businesses. On top of capacity limits customer groups must also be from the same household.

For the first time in months Magnus Johnson and his wife are sitting inside their favourite coffee shop, grabbing a bite to eat over the lunch hour.

“It’s really quite nice, and it’s nice to have coffee out of a proper cup,” said Johnson

They’re some of the first customers to dine in at San Vito Coffee Shop on day one, where owner Geordie Wilson says the morning was slower than slow.

“Zero, like there was no one in here,” said Wilson.

For some restaurants that uncertainty is keeping their doors closed for dine in for now.

“We are getting some phone calls inquiring about whether we’re open or not but are people actually, are we going to be able to fill that 25 percent,” said Monika Panos, owner of Taverna Rodos Restaurant and lounge.

She’s not reopening yet, wondering if patrons will show up and how the household rule is supposed to be handled.

“Do we pay the fine, do I put my staff through that, I don’t know. I don’t have the answers,” said Panos.

The health order says restaurants must take reasonable measures to ensure all persons at a table live at the same residence, like checking IDs.

“You know four individuals, roughly of the same age sitting at the same table, and their IDs weren’t checked to see if they live at the same residence, I would say that wasn’t probably a reasonable attempt,”, said Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer.

Other businesses are allowed to reopen in a limited capacity like nail salons, tattoo shops and gyms.

Gyms can only do individual or one-on-one training, with no group fitness allowed.

“I’m definitely excited because I think everyone is missing that human connection. We’re all looking forward to seeing everyone in person, it’s very different than staring at screens,” said Kathryn Dzikowicz from Blue Sky Fitness Studio.

While customers may only be trickling in on day one as they test the waters, Geordie Wilson is optimistic that will change.

 “I think it will start to increase and people will become more comfortable with it, and I think if everyone just keeps doing what they’re supposed to be doing I think we’ll work our way through this thing.”

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