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Waterloo Region businesses prepare to reopen on Jan. 31

Many business owners in Waterloo Region are breathing a sigh of relief now that they can reopen on Jan. 31.

“With the anticipated loosening of some restrictions in Ontario beginning on January 31st, we all need to move forward cautiously to protect our progress and avoid going backwards,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang in a news release. “As restrictions are loosened, it remains as important as ever to follow public health measures and receive a vaccine.”

Bars, gyms and movie theatres among the places allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

“Traditionally we don’t get much notice on any of this stuff, so it's nice this time they actually gave us quite a bit of time,” said Adam Cole, manager of Kentucky Bourbon and Prohibition Warehouse.

Cole said he has already scheduled a staff meeting for Monday. He currently has about 10 staff members at each of the restaurants but hopes to go back up to about 60 employees each.

“We’re bringing back all of our full-time staff and will be posting ads soon for summer jobs,” Cole said.

Princess Cinemas will be allowed about 75 people per screening. The owner, John Tutt, said he is relieved now but was starting to lose hope.

“We were thinking 'oh it’s going to go into February'. We’ve lost our busiest time of the year,” Tutt said.

The snack bar has been closed since mid-December, as part of the pandemic guidelines. The province said that will continue for the first step of the reopening plan.

“Starting February 21 — requiring patrons to remain seated while eating or drinking at indoor restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments (with or without dance facilities), sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues,” said Ivana Yelich, executive director of media relations at the Office of the Premier of Ontario, in an e-mailed statement to CTV Kitchener.

“You can only sell t-shirts and socks and pins and stickers so much,” Tutt said.

Midtown Yoga in Kitchener was able to open for members with disabilities but the owner said being closed to the general public shouldn't have happened in the first place.

“We cannot be closing down services that are imperative for people's total well-being,” Rebecca Rose, the owner of Midtown Yoga said.

Local business owners said they are hoping this is the last time they have to reopen following pandemic restrictions. Top Stories

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