WINDSOR, ONT. -- Employees across all sectors gladly went back to work or welcomed extra customers for the first time in two months.

“It is more work but it is a better kind of work,” says Lauren Hare, the general manager of The Dotte restaurant in East Windsor.

“It’s (patio service) a lot more enjoyable, to me, (because) we all love interacting with our the public and our neighbourhood,” she says.

The first weekend of patio service was such a success, The Dotte is now hiring for all positions so they can start booking their entire patio and tent table section.

“I was so happy to be able to serve people again,” Hare says.

Meantime in Essex reopening to customers came just as staff were at “a breaking point” according to Home Hardware owner Kimberly Seguin-Gauthier.

“To keep up with the demand of every single customer having to phone, pickup curbside, or online order. It’s been a nice refresher, not having the phones ringing 24-7,” says Seguin-Gauthier.

In Amherstburg, the first Open Air Weekend was a success, at least according to Matthew Johnston, owner and head chef of Artisan Grill.

“Now everybody’s going to be back to work and making money,” says Johnston.

“I would say the only downfall is people wanted to stay all night.”

Back in Windsor, the City’s bylaw enforcement didn’t issue any pandemic tickets and parking enforcement wasn’t overly active, even though usage was up.

“Our parking payments went up 18 per cent,” says Bill Kralovensky, manager of parking enforcement. “That’s people parking at meters and in our surface lots.”

The parking garages meantime saw 20 per cent more traffic this past weekend than the weekend before.

And yet, users were complying as the city only issued two additional tickets then the weekend before reopening.

“So that means people are getting the word, and paying for the spots,” adds Kralovensky.