Many local businesses might be allowed to reopen but curbside and online shopping will remain a major part of their bottom line.
On Friday, the province moved into phase two of the COVID-19 recovery. This means a lot of businesses, museums, campgrounds and other operations can reopen if they can provide for physical distancing in their operations.
“It forced us to do something that we hadn’t done before and we will continue with it,” said Heather Suttie, co-owner of Room 2 Remember in downtown Fredericton.
Suttie’s store, which specializes in home decor accessories, reopened Saturday afternoon after being closed since mid-March. She expects a significant online presence going forward.
She said one of her employees has been uploading all of their products to Shopify, which allows businesses to create an online website for their stores.
Suttie said she and other family members worked through the night Friday to get the shop in good shape to reopen.
A lot of that was focused on cleaning up the store.
But it also included installing signs, hand sanitizing stations and closing off two of the store’s three entrances to make sure people would enter in an orderly fashion.
“We’ve limited the number of people in the store to 15,” said Suttie, who received around 50 customers over the seven hours they were open.
“[We] have distance markers on the floor, discourage socializing, encourage mask wearing.”
Luke Randall, owner of Endeavours and Think Play in Fredericton, said his businesses will remain closed to the public but will continue to focus on curbside and online shopping.
“In this small space, there’s no way we can continue to serve customers the way that we have through this shutdown and continue to get as many people served as we’ve been able to, if we reopened those doors,” he said.
Even though in-store shopping has been halted, Randall has been surprised to see how well his business is doing. He said the business has been nearly at full-capacity in sales.
But as businesses open up, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, has said there are still risks from the virus.
“We are on this adventure together. I get that it’s nerve-wracking and can cause some anxiety,” she said.
Parks, golf courses and drive-in church services were allowed to operate in the first recovery stage.
No new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend
New Brunswick public health reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
There are still two active cases in the province and 118 people who have recovered. The province has said none of the active cases are in hospital.
One is travel-related and the other is still under investigation.
In a news release, the province said close to 18,000 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted since the virus broke out.
Russell and Premier Blaine Higgs will be providing a virus update at 2:30 p.m. in Fredericton.
To further slow the spread of the virus, the province is reminding New Brunswickers to follow personal actions such as:
- Stay within your two-household bubble.
- Maintain two metres of physical distance between yourself and others when you go out.
- When physical distancing cannot be maintained, face masks that cover your mouth and nose will be required to be worn in public.
- Frequently wash your hands thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
- Regularly clean commonly-touched surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs and countertops.
What to do if you have symptoms
People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website. People with two of those symptoms are asked to: