Why some Interior businesses are starting to open their doors again - InfoNews

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Why some Interior businesses are starting to open their doors again

A sign on a downtown Vernon business.
April 23, 2020 - 8:00 AM

After enduring more than a month of lockdown restrictions, it appears some businesses are starting to rear their heads and open up again.

From bottle recycling depots to clothing stores, businesses across the Interior are gradually and slowly beginning to reemerge and open their doors again.

Dr. Bonnie Henry may have given them a glimmer of hope when on April 20, she spoke about urged restaurant and other business owners to find innovations to resume operations while maintaining social distancing.

Lake Country restaurant Viva Mexicana re-opened April 7 for takeout only food, after closing its doors March 17, the day the province declared a public health emergency.

It's pretty obvious why the restaurant decided to reopen.

"We thought we might as well try and open and turn a profit," Jake Searcy told iNFOnews.ca.

Searcy, who plans to take over ownership of the restaurant in the coming months, said it was a better option than "bleeding dry."

Viva Mexicana is one of many restaurants which have recently decided to open their doors, albeit with new COVID-19 measure in place and only to-go menus.

In Vernon, Browns Socialhouse Restaurant reopened with reduced hours for take-out and delivery April 14. After several weeks being shut, J-DON Japanese Donburi Cafe reopened April 6, again with a limited menu for take-out.

Franchises are also following suit, with Subway in Armstrong opening a week ago, and Subway in Enderby reopening its doors today, April 22.

With bills to pay, it's not hard to see why businesses would reopen, but the decision to do for some is more complicated than just following the public health order.

Chasers Bottle Depot in Vernon reopened April 20, but owner Keith Chase had his reservations before doing so.

"I made sure I checked with all the channels before I reopened," Chase said. "I want to keep the community safe and keep the front staff safe."

Chase said he worked hard putting all the required safeguards in place before deciding to reopen.

"I'm happy and I'm scared because we work with beverage containers so we've got to make sure the staff and everybody stays safe," he said.

While recycling centres were deemed an essential service by the B.C. government and many never closed, businesses that didn't make the provincial list are also starting to reemerge.

Home and hardware business the Urban General Store in Kelowna's Capri Centre mall has reopened its doors recently. Both the Salmon Arm and Vernon locations of Whereabouts Clothing Co announced today April. 22 its stores had reopened.

While some businesses are remerging as Dr. Bonnie Henry starts to talk about easing restrictions and what that may look like, some businesses reopened weeks ago.

Vernon used book store Expressions Of Time reopened March 31 after closing for two weeks.

Owner Charlene Deuling keeps the door locked and customers have to knock if they want to enter. The vast majority of customers call ahead and place orders. Deuling has reduced her staff from eight to four and is blunt when asked why she chose to open at a time when most other downtown stores were closed.

"Because I need money," she said.

While businesses reopening offers society some hope that things will slowly return to normal, the province announced a spike in new COVID-19 cases, April 22, with 71 new diagnoses of the disease in the last 24 hours.

"We have more work to do to break the chain … we can’t afford to have weaknesses in the firewall if we are going to be able to move ahead in the new normal,” Henry said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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.

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