More than two weeks after being allowed to reopen following the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, Quebec store owners are finding that permission to open up doesn’t mean a return to business as usual.
While many other provinces are just beginning to ease partial lockdown measures, most Quebec retailers outside the Montreal area have been allowed to open since May 4, as long as they have a door to the outside and can ensure physical distancing.
Store owners contacted by The Canadian Press report lower-than-usual sales and a drop in customers — but they say those who come are there to buy.
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Georges Dussault, who owns an antique shop in the Laurentians area north of Montreal, says business has been “very, very quiet.”
Dussault, who has been in the business for 30 years, says he’s heavily dependent on tourists who visit the scenic region north of Montreal.
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Since reopening last week, Antiquites la Maison Bleue has seen only one to three customers per day — most of whom are buying smaller items such as old doorknobs or window frames for renovation projects.