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Halifax businesses prepare to take on 'new normal' as re-opening begins in the city

Most of these businesses will be required to operate at 50 percent capacity to ensure proper physical distancing
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Argyle Street (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

It will be a "new normal'' at bars, restaurants, gyms and inside health clinics across Nova Scotia as they reopen after being closed for nearly three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
Under the province's reopening plan, dining rooms can start allowing customers again starting today.
     
Most of these businesses will be required to operate at 50 per cent capacity to ensure proper physical distancing.
     
And staff must wear personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

Tim Rissesco is the executive director of the Downtown Darmtouth Business Commission and he knows it will take some time for businesses to rebound, but he believes the entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and well.

He predicts it will likely be 12 to 18 months before businesses are back to the level they were at before the pandemic struck.

"When you look at a lot of the small buisness in downtown Dartmouth and across the city, they've popped up in the last two or three years so they haven't had a lot of time to build up reserves...so they've depleted a lot of the money that they had and now they've taken out extra credit. Rissesco explains in an interview with News 95.7. "Over the next 12 to 18 months, the idea of living downtown Dartmouth or downtown Halifax will still be attractive to people and all these things add up."
     
Hair salons and barber shops will also be offering a different experience for customers, and many will likely raise prices to cover lost business and increased overheard.

President of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Patrick Sullivan believes "buy local" has never been more important.

"We need to ensure we are also visiting some of the franchise chains as well...whether it's a Subway or a Pita Pit, that money stays locally and those are local jobs and salaries that stay in the comunity," Sullivan said. "It's going to be different. There will be fewer opportunities because there will be less seats. It will be tough to just drop by, but I think people are eager to get out on patios."
     
Some health services will also reopen today, including dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, massage therapy and physiotherapists.

With files from Mark Hodgins and Dave Heintzman


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