'It’s really good news for us': Windsor-Essex businesses happy to welcome more customers with capacity limits lifted
Opening a business is always stressful, especially when you do it during a pandemic.
“It’s been ups and downs, it’s been heartache and loss, it’s been joy it’s been celebration, back to heartache again,” said Renaldo Agostino, owner of Turbo Espresso Bar in downtown Windsor.
But starting Monday, Agostino hopes to put the hurdle of capacity limits behind him.
“Every business is excited to take those signs off the doors. To finally say you know what, if you wanna come in here, if you’re double vaccinated, come on in and have a good time, you should feel safe,” Agostino said.
Same goes for The Dotte in Olde Riverside.
“It’s really good news for us,” said manager Lauren Hare.
The street food and cocktail restaurant opened in March 2020, and has never known “normal.”
The smaller dining room has a capacity of 34 people — which made things difficult for the budding restaurant.
“We definitely had to turn away a few tables, just because of the limits inside and the distancing, so it’s good that we can actually have more people in here,” Hare said.
Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced Ontario’s plan to safely reopen and laid out the roadmap to manage COVID-19 for the long term on Friday.
As of Monday, capacity restrictions for restaurants, gyms and casinos in Ontario will be lifted effective Oct. 25at 12:01 a.m. Proof of vaccination of COVID-19 is still required for eligible residents.
Craftheads Brewing Company has quite a bit of work to do reorganizing tables to get ready for Monday a small price to pay to get more people inside.
“I feel like it’s a step in the right direction,” Jason Barsotta, Craftheads brewer, said.
The brewery looking ahead to the coming months where the team is hopeful to once again start hosting large groups.
“Having the capacities open up, it will help out with Christmas parties, holiday parties, company parties, whatever it may be,” Barsotta said.
Gyms have also had a tough go with prolonged lockdowns and business-stifling capacity limits
“It’s just one less obstacle that we’ve got to go through to get people comfortable exercising again. So it’s nothing but good, is the reality,” Mike Bates, owner of Refine Fitness, said.
Having a roadmap to the end of the pandemic is welcome — but cautious optimism continues to be the prevailing attitude at the downtown Windsor business improvement association.
“We’ve had this interview so many times, I’d love to say yes, this is it, we’re done, back to normal,” downtown Windsor BIA chair Brian Yeomans said. “But we still need to remain vigilant, we still need to remain safe.”