COURTNEY McCLURE Intern to The Standard
SCUGOG: Local businesses are doing their part to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Port Perry, Ontario. Owner of On the Reel Fish and Grill has seen the client base of his business fall by about 70 percent. Rye, along with his brother, has a handful of staff who help keep his small business running. Although he worries for his staff’s safety, they make sure to sanitize their workstations and keep customers away from the cooks and food while in the restaurant. Normally Rye’s business relies on customers physically coming into the store and sitting down to eat. Under COVID-19 that is no longer possible. Fortunately, customers have been supporting his business by ordering takeout. He shared that many of his customers wait in their car while the cooks prepare their food. They have a portable credit and debit card machine, but customers can also pay cash. “We are thankful for customers in this time,” stated Rye. Despite many ethical concerns with staying open, Rye said one of his main concerns is potentially spreading the virus to his family. Another local business is Howey Home Decor, owned by Cearra Howey, in Port Perry. Ms. Howey stated she closed her business to “foot traffic” on March 25th. They are still operating via email and phone calls. To notify customers of this closure, Ms. Howey posted a notice on their social media pages, and the store’s website. Cearra shared that their business has been busy because many people are staying home and working on projects that require paint. When the store was still open, she said they were frequently disinfecting any surfaces that were touched, such as the cleaning machines, after each use. They were only accepting contactless payments at the time to help prevent the spread. At home, Ms. Howey and her family are practicing self-isolation and social distancing. For example, only one family member will go out for groceries. Like many other families in Port Perry, she has also taken hygienic practices to her home, like disinfecting frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs. Kenna Kozak is the executive director of the Scugog Chamber of Commerce in Port Perry. At home, Mrs. Kozak explained, she takes extra precautions because her husband is at risk for catching the disease. For example, she stays home as much as possible and wipes down any surfaces that have been touched. When the Chamber of Commerce office was still open, Mrs. Kozak cleaned the kitchen area and wiped down the handrails on the outside of the building. She also works with Durham Region Economic Task Force in Whitby to help make sure small businesses are keeping the safety and well-being of their staff and customers in mind. The task force involves members from many organizations in Durham, including Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism team. One way they are helping is by advising grocery stores to install protective glass around their cash registers and counters to separate the customers and employees. This is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “I think everyone is doing a wonderful job,” shared Kenna, speaking about businesses in Port Perry. More information is provided on the website Invest Durham. Please keep in mind that many local businesses are open for business, most are available for orders via phone and online. Contact your local business to see how they can meet your needs. Support local business, support your community.