Simcoe County adjusts to life in lockdown
BARRIE, ONT. -- Boxing Day weekend at Barrie's Georgian Mall is one without shoppers, crammed stores, and the post-holiday hustle and bustle.
There was eerie quiet at the mall Sunday on the second day of the second province-wide lockdown of the year. In-store shopping is off the table, but shoppers can pick up items purchased online.
It isn't only shops feeling the pain, but restaurants that depend on mall traffic to survive.
"It's kinda hard to see," said Anabela Santos, franchise owner of the Georgian Mall Sunset Grill, pointing to the empty dining room. "But we have to do what we have to do."
Santos said the past few weeks have been hard on the business, especially since it is still recouping from the March lockdown.
Now the restaurant is depending on take-out orders and food app deliveries.
"I honestly just wanted to come out of this on the other side and still be in business," she said.
While the mall parking lot is sparse, there was action at Horseshoe Resort in Oro-Medonte Sunday. The resort has switched gears to focus on other activities after the province announced all downhill ski hills would close in lockdown.
Horseshoe can offer cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking, and. The resort's marketing director said it had been their saving grace.
"Thankfully, we've been able to keep people employed on this side of the road," said Laura Kiley.
While disappointed with the pause on alpine skiing, she said demand for COVID-19 safe activities has been strong.
"We're seeing a lot of people who are pass holders on the alpine side trying Nordic, which is great,' said Kiley.
Kiley is hopeful that Simcoe County's lockdown will only last 28 days. She believes the break is also going to increase the demand for access to downhill skiing.
Facilities like Horseshoe Resort and Hardwood Ski and Bike have implemented extra safety measures like stopping the rental of skis and blocking picnic and fire areas.
With a file from Siobhan Morris