Moncton businesses hold on during red phase of N.B. recovery plan
HALIFAX -- As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in New Brunswick, many businesses are holding on and wondering if and when reopening will be possible. In Moncton, a part of the province in the red phase of N.B.'s recovery plan, the uncertainty of a return to normal is amplified for its local businesses.
For Soulflower Salon and Spa owner Kaitlyn Bergeron, the red phase has marked the third time she – alongside every other salon owner in Moncton – has had to close her doors since the pandemic began.
"We will be okay, but it does get really scary because there's only so many closures that a business, especially a newer business, can handle," says Bergeron.
With new cases announced in Zone 1 (Moncton) on Wednesday, flattening the curve isn't getting any easier.
"Businesses that have been forced to close during red were hopeful that there might be a two-week shutdown while we get this under control," says Greater Moncton's Chamber of Commerce CEO John Wishart. "But we just heard that there's four cases today in Zone 1. We seem to be hovering between one and 11 cases, so there's not really a complete flattening of the curve happening."
With stricter restrictions in place for Moncton, some are finding creative ways to keep business alive.
Gifts Galore, a business that has been open for 36 years, is determined to remain open for another 36 years.
"We have seen less foot traffic, but an increase in our Facebook and Instagram for sure," says Gifts Galore co-owner Steve Clerke. "We understand why we are still in red. It's good to be cautious; it's taught us a new way to do business."
And other companies are learning new ways to do business as well.
By offering take-out and curbside delivery, some eateries have managed to stay afloat; meanwhile, February's Moncton Burger Festival provides a boost.
"I've talked to restaurant owners who've said 'without that, I'd be in serious trouble,'" says Wishart. "It's those kind of emergency programs that are supported by the public that make a difference."
Restaurants agree and are thankful for culinary events like Moncton Burger Festival and food delivery services.
"It's been slow; evenings pick up a little bit. Thank God for SkipTheDishes," says Pumphouse Brew Pub executive chef Darren Perry. "On the weekends, especially with burger fest, it starts to pick up."
Meanwhile, all businesses in the area can agree that during tough pandemic times, a little support goes a long way.