'New Normal' starts Tuesday for some Windsor businesses, with a high demand for PPE
Personal protective equipment for customers at Antoyan Jewellers as some stores reopen on Tuesday May 19, 2020. (Chris Campbell/CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The return to work after a two-month forced hiatus is being met with both excitement and anxiety, according to some shopkeepers, as demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) remains high and are difficult to find.
“Everything has been difficult,” said Hagon Antoyan of Antoyan Jewellers. “I don’t think there is one part of this that has been easy to get our hands on.”
Ghada Jacobs, owner of Jacob’s Boutique said people are no longer worrying about toilet paper, it’s gloves and masks now.
“My husband actually ordered from Wolfhead, their hand sanitizer so we’ll have more of that coming in,” Jacobs said. "If we could get more masks, I’d be glad to provide them to our customers.”
Many stores have signs on their doors with a list of new shopping requirements that insist on masks, sanitizer or gloves.
“Everybody is trying to fight for the same things,” said Antoyan.
At Antoyan Jewellers in Tecumseh, wearing a face mask used to mean trouble. So now out of an abundance of caution face masks go on after passing the first door.
“Face masks prior to coming in, for security reasons we don’t want them on, but definitely when you walk in, 100 per cent we’re for it and feel comfortable to put it on,” Antoyan said. Just in our industry, it’s a little different.”
A few doors down at Jacob’s Boutique, customers must bring their own face mask, since keeping a constant disposable supply seems to be near impossible for small business owners.
“This is the best that we can do, we’re going to see how it works and hopefully we can get back to some normalcy,” said Jacobs.
“I’ve been to many places and nobody has it in stock,” Antoyan added.
Earlier this month, Canada's Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the country’s ability to get the PPE out of China has improved, and that the federal government continues to develop a stable supply of needed PPE.
“This is a team effort. We are all working towards making sure that as we go back to work as we roll out through the next phases of this crisis that we have the personal protective equipment that Canadians need,” she said at the time.
Jacobs said there are still a lot of unknowns, “I think as time goes, we’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t and go from there."
Antoyan said the best way to secure PPE is by ordering online.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says hundreds of thousands of pieces of PPE will be delivered to provinces in the coming weeks.