Some Okanagan stores are reopening without waiting for Dr. Henry’s guidelines - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
19.7°C

Some Okanagan stores are reopening without waiting for Dr. Henry’s guidelines

Amanda Hidbar (left) waits for Satveer Kaur to clean the counter before putting down her merchandise at the Urban General Store in Kelowna.
May 01, 2020 - 7:00 PM

Value Village, La-Z-Boy and a handful of other Okanagan businesses are quietly re-opening, even though they were never ordered closed in the first place.

While B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered hair salons, bars, restaurants and some other businesses closed, most retail outlets shut down as they saw their sales dry up with customers safe distancing at home.

Both these chain outlets quietly opened this week – Value Village in Kelowna on Tuesday and La-Z-Boy in Kelowna today, May 1.

But there are also some smaller outlets who re-opened even earlier.

“I never intended on closing but my existing staff were concerned about the risks with the COVID pandemic,” Bruce Uzelman, owner of Kelowna’s Urban General Store in the Capri Centre Mall told iNFOnews.ca.

He shut down for awhile but re-opened a couple of weeks ago after having a Plexiglass barrier erected around his cash register and hiring new staff willing to work through the pandemic.

That was before Henry suggested a coordinated approach should be taken.

“Those businesses that have closed during the last couple of weeks, even though they were not ordered to . . . I’m thinking of retail in particular – book stores, clothing stores and others – who have gone to a mixture of on-line and in-person and how that can be done safely,” she said in her April 29 COVID-19 update. “Those are things, as well, that we need to have a provincial approach to so that it’s a level playing field for everybody and also so that we can build confidence. We, as the consumers, there’s a lot of concern still and a lot of fear about how this is going to work. None of us wants to see us sliding back to having outbreaks in our community.”

Bruce Uzelman reopened the Urban General Store after hiring new staff willing to work during the pandemic.
Bruce Uzelman reopened the Urban General Store after hiring new staff willing to work during the pandemic.

For Amanda Hidber, it felt far safer shopping at Urban General Store than it did on a recent trip to a grocery store that has been operating through the pandemic as an essential service. She complained that there were no directional signs and people clustered together in the produce section.

Plus, she was able to buy a product she wasn’t able to get in the grocery store: hand sanitizer.

While Uzelman only put plexiglass around his Urban General Store checkout, Jeff Leonard went a step further with his Government Street Liquor Store and Wine Shoppe in Penticton. He blocked all his products off so customers walk up to an order counter – only four are allowed in the store at a time – then staff deliver to another counter.

He’s had a number of customers tell him it feels like the safest store in town.

Wearabouts Clothing Co. announced on Facebook on April 24 that it was reopening its Salmon Arm and Vernon stores. No one was available to explain what safety measures they had taken before reopening.

The Welcome sign on Wearabouts Clothing's Facebook page.
The Welcome sign on Wearabouts Clothing's Facebook page.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/WearaboutsClothing

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020
iNFOnews

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile