It has been two months since the World Health Organization announced the novel coronavirus was considered a threat and would be a pandemic. Now that time has passed, many provinces like Ontario are willing to learn how to live with the threat and bring back some business normalcy.
While this means greatly changing and adapting most business processes, this comes as great news for retailers eager to get back to work, as well as for Canadian retail CRE investors.
Non-essential businesses in Ontario are slowly opening their doors once again in an attempt to boost the economy and employment rates. The first ones to go back to work are retailers who need to follow the recommended measures for COVID-19 prevention.
Many businesses in Ontario have already opened their doors, allowing customers inside, as long as everyone follows the recommended safety measures.
Now to avoid unnecessary crowds and indoor gatherings, retailers and stores that have a street entrance will be allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery to their customers.
Both employees and customers must follow strict restrictions and guidelines that will ensure their safety. Guidelines such as wearing gloves and masks are a must for those who will be interacting with each other.
However, for those who can opt to pay by debit, credit, or make online payments it is recommended that those customers opt for curbside service. When they arrive at the store for pickup, these customers are advised to remain inside their vehicles at all times and wait for their purchase to be loaded.
Curbside service limits the contact between employees and customers and minimize the risks associated with it. Now retailers will need to be quick and efficient to ensure steady traffic flow.
Although there are many restrictions and rules to follow, this is the best way to minimize the economic impact and bring Ontario back to work in a safe environment.
Depending on how the situation develops within the next few weeks, the next to open will be outdoor facilities. There’s currently no set date for this, as it’s important to go slowly and strategically.
However, what most Canadians are excited about is for bars and restaurants to reopen. They’re still closed in Ontario, except for takeout and delivery, but as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases drops, we can expect to see them open soon.
To encourage physical distancing, bars and restaurants in Ottawa there is a proposed plan to allow businesses to expand their patios for the duration of the pandemic.
That would allow for all bar and restaurant patrons to be safely distanced from one another, while the owners could serve more clientele.
With the curve of the pandemic slowly flattening, and the preventative measures loosening, the Ontario retail commercial real estate market, similar to Saskatchewan that we spoke about last week, is set to experience a boom just in time for summer. Everyone’s excited to go back to work, and now is the right time for Canadian retail CRE investors to take action. Provinces such as Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta are prime for new investment.