Business as usual? Quebec retailers report slower sales amid coronavirus reopening
|globalnews.ca 21 May 2020 at 12:21|
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.
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.
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. It’s better than nothing, he says.
“There’s aren’t a lot of people, but they all buy something,” said Dussault.
He believes that in uncertain times, people are trying to save money rather than splurging on a special piece.
He’s seen tough times before and expects to survive this one as well, although he may have to remortgage his building if things don’t pick up eventually.
In Sherbrooke, about 150 kilometres east of Montreal, Kim Pare Gosselin’s clothing boutique has been faring a bit better.
Pare Gosselin says sales at Belle et Rebelle are at about 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, even with only a quarter the customers.