As of Friday 12 June, Woodstock and Oxford County has moved from Stage 1 to Stage 2 restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen in a loosening of the pandemic closure orders.

It heralds a move towards the new normal for businesses who have been shut for months and can now open again, including:

  • Shopping malls

  • Bars and restaurants (seated outdoors only)

  • Hair salons and barber shops

For those returning to work, child care centres can open, albeit with limits of the group size for children attending. Details on summer day camps will be released soon.

10 is the magic number

In the newly reopened parks and public spaces, there is now an increased maximum social gathering size of 10 people, provided physical distancing is observed. There are also plans to allow members of different households to come together without the need to distance, known as a “social bubble”. Weddings can now take places, so long as the guest list is less than 10 people.

Sipping and swimming

The restrictions have also been lifted for campgrounds and swimming pools to open if safe to do so in terms of distancing and health. Guided tours can also restart, along with winery and brewery tastings. You can visit a beach at an Ontario Park, and camp at a private campground, and travel between some provinces (but not all).

Back to work again

At work, there are over 100 sets of reopening guidance available for a wide variety of business types, including construction, manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality and food services, food processing, and retail.

It all adds up to a welcome return for our great business community here in Woodstock.

Not everyone is coming out yet

Not all our community will be out and about yet. Those who are in vulnerable groups such as seniors, those with underlying medical conditions or a compromised immune system may not wish to venture out yet. So, if your business has been helping people during lockdown, thank you, and please continue to do so. If your business is opening for the first time since March, consider how you might help those still staying in their own homes through an extension of your normal services.

Looking forward and working together

It’s certainly a time when many local and national businesses are looking at their marketing strategies and wondering:

  • What might we do to restore consumer confidence?

  • What can we offer to tempt our business customers to spend with us again?

  • How might we partner with others to kickstart the business community overall?

Why not join our virtual networking here at your local Chamber and see what new partnerships you can forge for mutual benefit.

Does your business look open to Google?

If your business is reopening, you need to update your opening hours in your social media. It may seem a trivial task, but it has important consequences for local search. For example, if a potential customer is looking for a post-lockdown hair cut (aren’t we all!), they may search on a smart phone to find local salons. Google (and other search engines) will show them local salons nearest to their actual location that are open at the time.

So, if you’ve still got your Facebook company page opening hours listed as Closed, your salon won’t necessarily get shown on the results page. If you have a Google My Business page, this is even more important to change as Google will look here first, closely followed by any opening times listed on your website.

Holidays at home

With air travel restrictions abroad and the current 14-day quarantine on their return, many Canadians will opt for a 2020 staycation here in Canada. According to a Global News report, tourism in Canada is worth $80billion a year, of which only $30billion comes from foreign tourists. That leaves $50billion generated from Canadians taking a vacation in Canada, usually in another province. The prediction is that RVs will become THE way to travel this summer. So, can your business offer those taking an RV staycation something a little extra to entice them to Woodstock? Worth a thought!

Help for your business from your local Chamber

We are proud supporters of local Woodstock Businesses. For over 140 years, we have helped promote, support and connect local people, to develop and grow their businesses. Our mission is to promote local business prosperity and a healthy community by providing education, information, services and advocacy for our members. If you’d like to join us, you’d be very welcome. If you’re already a member, you can support us by making the most of your membership perks - see them all here.