North Bay restaurants, cinemas and other businesses are one step closer to returning to normal as Ontario announced Stage 3 of its COVID-19 reopening Monday afternoon.
President and CEO of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce (NBDCC), Peter Chirico, says that Stage 3 is welcome news for the local business scene.
“There are a lot of businesses that have been waiting patiently but making sure everyone is safe is the top priority,” says Chirico.
Chirico says that while not every business will be ready to move to Stage 3 by Friday, the next few days should be spent preparing.
“They have to make sure they have a plan and that they’re working with public health guidelines. Those are going to be key. Not everybody is going to be ready for Friday.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBDCC has been helping businesses connect with resources that have helped them reopen. These include access to personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers and connections with public health units.
Though the Chamber has remained closed for the duration of the pandemic, Chirico has been impressed with some of the local business owners’ innovations.
“When things like this happen, there’s an opportunity; or it goes the other way. Many became very innovative in how they approached their businesses and looking at new ways to run their business,” Chirico explains.
It is no secret that the pandemic has taken its toll on local businesses.
In its latest newsletter, The Labour Market Group, a North Bay based workforce planning board, shared its COVID-19 survey results; stating that in North Bay, 81.5% of respondents on average lost over half of their revenue as a result of the pandemic.