The executive director of the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association (BIA) said she is hopeful for the return of “more active” retail once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The province-wide shutdown has been in effect in Ontario since Boxing Day. It is expected to last until Jan. 9 in Northern Ontario and until Jan. 23 in southern Ontario.
Downtown Timmins BIA executive director Cindy Campbell said she hopes businesses will be able to reopen on Saturday.
“Everybody is optimistic that with the continued good numbers coming out of the north, the lockdown will lift Friday night as scheduled,” she said.
Local businesses are excited for the community to reopen as Boxing Day sales and activities were delayed because of the lockdown, said Campbell.
“First opportunity to get those going is a huge economic stimulus to downtown Timmins and, of course, the whole City of Timmins,” she noted.
Before Christmas, the organization launched a gift certificate program to support its 250 member businesses.
“Any time the business has to lockdown, there’s going to be an economic consequence. Unfortunately, it’s not something that some of our small retailers can handle well at all,” Campbell said. “Christmas is a big time of year but Boxing Day is equally as big for stock turnover, future buying, so it’s very important we get over this as soon as we can.”
The BIA is “excited” about the upcoming year and is hoping limitations placed on businesses by the pandemic will be reduced with the vaccine and safety protocols, Campbell said.
Once there are more updates about the reopening, the association will post them on its Facebook page.
“We believe that the people of Northern Ontario have been very diligent in their COVID protocols, so we’re hopeful that with continued attention to those protocols we’ll be able to open,” said Campbell.
To date, there have been 133 confirmed cases of the virus in the Porcupine Health Unit region.
There are currently three active cases of COVID-19 in Timmins, and one active case in Fort Albany.
If the lockdown wasn't in place, the region would fall into the green (prevent) zone of the regional COVID restrictions set out by the province.