Nanaimo small business re-opens after mandatory COVID-19 closures

Nanaimo small business re-opens after mandatory COVID-19 closures
WatchAs cases of COVID-19 diminish, many Island businesses that have been closed for weeks are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Our Skye Ryan found one small business in Nanaimo that today tested the waters by reopening, in hopes it's a gamble that pays off.  

Jorg Bischoff had been itching to take down the closed sign on his Nanaimo Shoe Repair for weeks and on Tuesday, he got to do it.

“Oh [it’s a] big relief,” said Bischoff, owner of Nanaimo Shoe Repair.

The Nanaimo business is the sole source of income of Bischoff and his wife.

“With things improving and the curve flattening a bit we’re thinking maybe we can open and offer our services again because I think our services are also needed,” said Bischoff.

“Because I think our services are also needed,” said the owner of Nanaimo Shoe Repair.

The fourth-generation cobbler didn’t apply for government assistance, so he really needed to reopen. Bischoff hopes with the ability to social distance from his customers, he will be allowed to remain open.

“Businesses like shoe repair, seamstresses, are mom and pop shops really,” said Bischoff.

“If you’re not here, no money’s being made.”

His wife, Kim, is worried they will be closed down and really hopes that doesn’t happen.

“They could say its non-essential, but we want to open,” she said.

Elsewhere in Nanaimo, barber Dave Lawrence would like to be able to re-open, but can’t social distance from clients cutting hair. So That 50’s Barbershop will have to stay boarded up until the provincial order that shuttered so many in BC on March 26 is lifted.

“Rent is coming up,” said Dave Lawrence, owner of That 50’s Barbershop.

“How am I going to pay this?”

The Nanaimo father of two is still waiting for federal assistance to come through and has customers approaching him that he has to decline.

“Oh its terrible and I see it all over town,” said Lawrence’s client Dale Schulz.

“And what hurts is that we can’t support these small businesses.”

“I’m in such close proximity to people when I cut their hair that it’s just not safe,” said Lawrence.

“So I don’t have any hopes of opening anytime soon, I don’t think.”

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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