Some business owners in the Ottawa area say the uncertainty surrounding Ontario’s current lockdown is draining them both financially and emotionally.
Non-essential businesses were forced to close when the Ford government implemented a provincewide lockdown on Boxing Day, followed by a stay-at-home order last week that extends the closure by nearly three weeks.
The order extends to ski hills like Calabogie Peaks Resort, 100 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa.
“It’s just yet another blow to the industry in Ontario,” said Jim Hemlin, the ski resort’s chief operating officer. “Knowing that the rest of our colleagues [across Canada] are working and running their ski resorts, not having any issues, it makes it a hard pill to swallow.”
Hemlin said some ski resorts won’t survive.
“The impact, financially, is massive — not even sure if [it’s] recoverable,” he said. “Losing Christmas and New Year’s, and now losing the prime part of our season, the month of January, it’s going to be quite an interesting roller-coaster to see what hills can actually recover from this.”
Restaurants, small businesses also suffering
The province’s decision to extend the lockdown until at least Feb. 11 is concerning for restaurateur and retailer Resa Solomon-St. Lewis, who planned to reopen her small pop-up shop in the ByWard Market, Afrotechture, in time for Black History Month.
“Having to constantly make changes, adjust, adapt to the extent that we’re trying to be as flexible as possible, it does create a significant strain to operate in this kind of environment,” she said.
“We’re really trying to be innovative, but it can’t help but have an impact and will most certainly have an impact on projected revenues,” said Solomon-St. Lewis, whose Montreal Road restaurant Baccanalle is open for takeout.
“As a business owner, a lot of the time we have to absorb those cuts ourselves,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be a strain financially, and a strain from a psychological standpoint.”