Stratford businesses able to open with higher capacities in orange tier
KITCHENER -- Businesses in Stratford are able to operate again under orange tier restrictions, meaning they have larger capacity limits than businesses in some neighbouring regions.
However, some businesses have decided to wait before welcoming back visitors.
Jessie Votary, owner of Old Man and Sons, decided not to open the restaurant's dining room this week.
"I know maybe it's not the most popular decision," Votary said.
Instead, she will continue to offer takeout.
Stratford and the rest of Huron Perth are in the orange tier, between areas in the red tier like Waterloo Region and London.
Restaurants, gyms and event spaces can only allow 10 people indoors in red tier areas, but 50 people are allowed in the orange tier.
Some are concerned people could jump between regions in different tiers, threatening areas with lower case counts.
"Travel between regions will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made," a statement from Huron Perth Public Health said in part. "We know that people will want to get out and do a bit more. We encourage them to use discretion and closely adhere to public health measures, such as handwashing, wearing a mask, and physical distancing when going out."
The province says travel between regions should only be for essential reasons.
Rob Russell's business, MacLeods Scottish Shop, relies heavily on tourism. Before he closed his doors at the start of the pandemic, 90 per cent of his sales were from in-store purchases. He was able to move online, but he knows not all businesses have been able to do so.
"It's such a challenge, because we really do want to welcome people," he said. "But, at the end of the day, we have to be very careful."
Votary hasn't decided when she'll open her booths, but said she'll wait until she's comfortable.
"At the moment, we feel that guests would be very safe in our dining rooms, but we actually can't guarantee the safety of our staff, and that is the most important thing," she said.
Officials also said new variants of concern pose a threat to the community and others in the province.