From haircuts to clothing, businesses begin reopening in Kelowna - InfoNews

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From haircuts to clothing, businesses begin reopening in Kelowna

Expect to be questioned by these masked stylists if you want a haircut at Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop in Orchard Park mall. From left, Ashleigh Embree, Ashley Andre and manager Laura Baumback.
May 19, 2020 - 5:30 PM

A full range of personal care services are now available in Kelowna as more and more stores open under new COVID-19 guidelines.

One of the big openings was today, May 19, when the doors at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre were unlocked and the usual security guard presence was gone.

There was a small lineup at the mall’s Peach entrance when those doors opened at about 10:50 a.m. Prior to this, a security guard had been posted to screen people to see if they had appointments with the handful of stores that remained open.

A good part of the lineup moved to safe distancing positions outside Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop waiting for those doors to open and let the first four men in for a haircut. The clients were questioned at the door by a masked Ashleigh Ebree about their travel and health histories before being ushered in. Only half the eight chairs were in use.

In all, about four dozen stores are open in the mall, including the few like Shopper’s Drug Mart and Best Buy — where there were a dozen people lined up outside — that remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside Orchard Park mall about one quarter of the shops are now open but crowds were pretty sparse at opening time, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Inside Orchard Park mall about one quarter of the shops are now open but crowds were pretty sparse at opening time, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

On Bernard Avenue, there are a wide range of services open, including Healing Hollow Essential Oil Company, that had reduced hours last week.

“Lots of people are saying they’re happy we’re open,” manager Jenna Savoie said. “They’re happy to support local.”

There are no barriers in the store but things like hand cream samples have been removed and people seemed to be good about safe distancing.

While the store always had a decent online presence and offered touchless pickup options during the lockdown, that hasn’t made up for the loss of in-store business, which still has some ways to go before getting back to normal, Savoie said.

Soleda Flores at Molly’s Cafe takes orders while standing behind a plexiglass shield that reaches to the ceiling, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Soleda Flores at Molly’s Cafe takes orders while standing behind a plexiglass shield that reaches to the ceiling, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Down the block, Molly’s Cafe opened for the first time today with counter to ceiling plexiglass barriers where people order or pay for their meals, most of the tables were removed and there were barriers between booths. As a cafe where customers always had to read the menu off the wall and order at the front counter, it’s quite well suited to following WorkSafe B.C. guidelines for restaurants.

Next door Bia Boro manager Shani Dwyer was thrilled with the rush of regular customers flocking to the store over the weekend.

“It’s nice to see people’s faces and have conversations again,” she said.

The only significant changes she’s had to make was to close four of her six change rooms, leaving clothes sit for 24 hours if they had been tried on and limiting the shop to four customers at a time.

Bia Bora manager Shani Dwyer had lots of customers over the weekend making up for lost shopping time.
Bia Bora manager Shani Dwyer had lots of customers over the weekend making up for lost shopping time.

Across the street, other clothing and shoe stores had their doors wide open to welcome people in and there were a handful of clients at ABC Nails and Spa getting manicures and pedicures. Staff wear masks and there’s plenty of plexiglass in evidence.

Owner Tony Lam isn’t sure how successful the opening will be since he’s only taking customers by appointment but one customer was ecstatic to be able to book a pedicure and manicure for tomorrow afternoon.

The other noticeable difference on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna is that parking is, again, hard to find.


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