Local businesses brace for holiday season as Ford vows to lift restrictions

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Local business owners are making their plans for the busy holiday season. This is while Ontario plans to phase out all remaining public health restrictions by March of next year.

By Christmas, a number of changes will already be in effect. Capacity limits will be lifted at several facilities, including restaurants, gymnasiums and indoor event spaces.

Ron Morrow, general manager of the Giovanni Caboto Club, said they are looking forward to the Christmas season, especially with increased capacity – but there are concerns about staffing levels.

“It will depend on the number of people who will come back for functions. Before, we were in a company of a hundred employees,” he said.

Ron Morrow is the General Manager of the Giovanni Caboto Club. He said they are facing staff shortages. (Aastha Shetty / CBC News)

“Right now we have about 30 of them. We probably have to make it through the holiday season with about 50 in total.”

Following Friday’s announcement, restaurateurs have only about two months to determine how they will cope with higher demand and capacity during the holiday season.

George Marar is the co-owner of Bourbon Tap & Grill. He can’t wait to open a second location just in time for the holiday season. (Aastha Shetty / CBC News)

George Marar, co-owner of Bourbon Tap and Grill on Ottawa Street, said his restaurant was quickly recovering from a staff shortage.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate. We have a pretty loyal staff where we’ve had a pretty significant turnover with the first shutdown. I think we’ve gone from around 35 employees to around 11 at one point. now back to about 40. We’re lucky in that regard.

Marar said they have big plans ahead, with a brand new second location slated to open soon.

Staff are busy preparing orders at Sweet Revenge Bake Shop. (Aastha Shetty / CBC News)

Many other business owners are also eager to potentially welcome more customers with fewer restrictions.

Diana Elias, the new owner of her Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, said she is already thinking about what she would like to do for Christmas.

“As soon as Halloween is over we’re going to be making menu ideas, we’ll probably be doing things individually boxed because a lot of companies right now, especially with COVID, are looking for individual boxed items. They are looking for plates to cookies, special macaroons, special cupcakes, all the fun stuff. “

Diana Elias is the new owner of Sweet Revenge Bake Shop. She said she looked forward to the busy Christmas season. (Aastha Shetty / CBC News)

The Ontario government does not plan to lift more restrictions until January if there are no new “worrying trends” to come over the holiday season.

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