The first week of May was also the first week that certain companies were allowed to reopen their doors in Manitoba as public health orders closed much of the province to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Businesses Global News spoke to say they are as busy as ever as they learn first-hand how to serve an anxious audience, while adhering to health directives.
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“The challenges are definitely keeping up with the changing legislation that is happening,” says Lennard Taylor, owner and operator of his own fashion design studio.
“You have to do a double, triple, and sometimes quad check, you’re doing everything right, but you know what, that’s how we’re going to have to do it.”
“This is the new world, so I am going to adapt in any way to stay in business and keep my employees and staff safe, paid and smiling.”
Taylor says one of the main challenges is making sure everything from door handles to cash registers are constantly cleaned and that there is enough hand sanitizer available to customers.
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Despite the tedious cleaning regiment, Taylor says he has had no trouble obtaining disinfectant, which he was able to obtain from a nearby gin distillery that modified its operation.
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When it comes to the clothing itself, Taylor says they have established a “quarantine rack” where items that people have tried sit for a minimum of four days, or else are shipped for cleaning before going back to use them.
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Meanwhile, in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, LOCAL Public Eatery has seen a patio at full capacity day after day throughout the week, according to General Manager Sean Lough.
“I had my ideas with Winnipeg, although it was going to be a little cold, but the courtyards were full,” says Lough.
“Everyone is happy to see each other. I would say they are all a bit tentative, and that is to be expected. “
Total capacity looks a little different in the middle of a pandemic; Lough says that under normal circumstances they would have room for 60, but that has been cut in half.
Masked and gloved servers bring cold drinks to thirsty customers, and according to government orders, there is a hand sanitizer on every corner.
“Obviously, additional challenges and extra work are required to do this, but I fully understand why this is so and we are prepared for it,” says Lough.
Behind the scenes, things are also different.
Lough adds that a worker has been assigned to monitor the bathroom to clean things between uses, and some in the kitchen wear face shields “depending on the type of preparation they are doing.”
In addition to reduced capacity, Lough says staffing levels have been drastically reduced, plummeting from around 100 employees before COVID-19 to just seven. However, as things go up again, he says he has been able to bring back about 30 people.
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“As long as everything goes well with the next phase and we can start the dinner service with 50 percent [capacity]My goal is to retain all of my associates that we had to lay off temporarily, ”says Lough, adding that with all the additional responsibilities, you may even need to hire more workers.
Despite the fact that consumer habits are in the midst of a massive change, it seems that Winnipeggers will not miss the opportunity to sit down with some friends for a drink, even on a cold May afternoon.
“We have been full every day, and today it is two degrees outside and the yards are full; there are some jackets on but there are also some people in shorts.”
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