Patios busy as Waterloo Region, Guelph enter second phase of reopening
KITCHENER -- Stage two of the province’s reopening plan kicked off in Waterloo Region and Wellington County on Friday.
Malls, hair salons and restaurant patios are just a few types of businesses that are allowed to open their doors to customers for the first time in months.
At Moose Winooski’s in Kitchener, eager customers arrived Friday afternoon to enjoy their lunch outdoors.
“This weekend the majority of our tables are already reserved already, however the hostess desk is now outside, so you won’t even be going into the building,” says Bill Siegfried, Moose Winooski’s VP of operations.
The restaurant opened up the patio at 11 a.m. with all tables six feet apart, as per public health requirements.
There is no seating inside or around the bar, and staff are mandated to wear a mask and undergo a health check at the start of their shift.
Some diners are opting to wear a mask, but staff say it is up to the individual.
“Anybody coming as a walk-in, we still record the number of people in their party, their contact information, what table they sat at, in case there’s any kind of tracing that the regional health board has to do,” Siegfried added.
The restaurant says there are no current plans for any security and adds that hours of operation have been cut back for the time being.
At hair salons, all customers are in masks and hand santizer is on site.
"We have the wipes and the masks so if they don't have it, no problem," said hay stylist Steelo Sanai. "We're booked until July 21."
It's also been months since shoppers could enter Fairview Mall, which doesn't yet have every store open inside.
Cleaning has been increased and hand sanitizer is now available throughout the Kitchener mall.
"We believe they will take the guidelines serious," said Mike Murray, Region of Waterloo CAO. "There will be inspectors out inspecting and monitoring."
There are roughly 300 patios throughout the region that officials say will be monitored throughout the weekend.
"We could revert back to phase one if they don't do this right," said Region Chair Karen Redman.
On Monday, the province announced the majority of Ontario's public health unit regions will move forward to Stage 2 on Friday, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area, along with a few others like Niagara and Windsor.
That exclusion didn’t sit well with everyone: in Norfolk and Haldimand counties, the mayors got haircuts in protest of being left out of the reopening.
Ontario is also allowing places of worship to reopen, with attendance limited to 30 per cent capacity, with physical distancing rules in place.
The province is also increasing social gathering rules, now allowing up to 10 people to gather as of Friday.