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Manitobans have spent almost two months not being able to do much of anything.

They couldn't shop for shoes, get their hair cut, nor their teeth cleaned. Restaurant food could be bought, but only through delivery services, curbside pickup or drive-thru windows.

That will begin to change Monday, as the provincial government starts thawing restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here's a look at four areas that can slowly return to business:

Restaurants

While Manitobans aren't yet able to have a sit-down meal inside a restaurant — being targeted for June 1, at the earliest — they will soon be able to do more than order delivery or takeout.

On May 4, the province will allow restaurants to open their patios to patrons.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>John Kolevris, owner of Saffron's in Winnipeg, on his restaurant's patio.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

John Kolevris, owner of Saffron's in Winnipeg, on his restaurant's patio.

John Kolevris, owner of Saffron's Restaurant on Corydon Avenue, said he's looking at having a good chunk of his outdoor space in use.

"Our patio is licensed for 116, so we likely will have about 48 to 50 people," Kolevris said Wednesday.

"We'll be open for sure — we've had staff on standby and we're getting sanitizer on Friday. We are pretty much ready to go."

While patios can open for sitting customers, the province's public health department says restaurants will still have to follow social-distancing guidelines, including: having patrons be spaced two metres away from each other (except for brief exchanges with servers); limit occupancy to half its normal business; no buffets; and limit numbers at individual tables or common areas to no more than 10 people.

Retail

Except for essential services (such as grocery and hardware), the vast majority of retail business locations were ordered closed by the province last month.

The province is now allowing a long list of businesses to reopen, including: clothing and shoe stores, jewelry and accessory stores, boat dealers, vape supply shops, pawn shops, and electronic and entertainment stores.

There are restrictions, including: allowing half the normal number of customers inside; having staff and customers stay two metres apart, except for brief exchanges; and regulating how many people come into the store, via lines at a single point of entry.

Still, the Retail Council of Canada's Prairie region director, John Graham, said: "It's a good news day for retail, for sure."

"We worked with the government to establish rules we thought would build confidence with both consumers and with retailers to halt the spread of COVID-19," he said. "All traditional retail stores will be able to open for the public on Monday.

"The majority of the stores will be ready to go."

The province will soon allow physiotherapists, as well as other health professionals, to begin providing more than just emergency or urgent care.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The province will soon allow physiotherapists, as well as other health professionals, to begin providing more than just emergency or urgent care.

Therapeutic, health-care businesses

Dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists, and physiotherapists are among the health professionals who have been restricted in recent weeks to only emergency or urgent care.

The province will soon allow them (as well as therapeutic massage and acupuncture professionals) to begin providing all services. However, restrictions include: screening staff for the coronavirus before accepting appointments; having customers wait outside in their vehicle or, if possible, be physically distanced in waiting rooms prior to an appoitment; not having any magazines or toys in waiting areas; and sanitizing service areas after each patient.

Dr. Marc Mollot, president of the Manitoba Dental Association, said dentists and hygienists are going to ease back into work, with emergency and urgent patients still the first to be seen.

"We're taking a phased-in approach," Mollot said. "We will do so in a safe and measured manner. We want to be very careful and calculated. We want to see how it is going.

"We don't want to see a (coronavirus) rebound in society."

Meanwhile, Mollot said there is a general shortage of personal protective equipment as "many dentists were giving them to medical people who needed them," so prospective patients may face longer wait times.

The province has given the green light for hair stylists and barbers to reopen Monday.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The province has given the green light for hair stylists and barbers to reopen Monday.

Hair salons, barbershops

The province has given the green light for hair stylists and barbers to reopen Monday, but some industry members are seeing red.

Kelly O'Leary, a Winnipeg hair stylist and salon owner, and Lisa Anderson, who styles hair in St. Boniface and Lorette, said they don't understand why the province put them at the head of the pack for reopening.

"(My salon) is not opening on (May 4)," O'Leary said. "We've been preparing and preparing our team, but we were told by the province last week they were looking at Saskatchewan, and they're not opening hair salons until May 19.

"There's no real hair emergency — we're not in the same category as doctors performing surgery."

Anderson said it will take time for hair stylists to comply with the restrictions they have been told to follow, including wearing face masks and gloves.

"We can't buy them at our regular suppliers," she said. "And we have blow dryers — what are we supposed to do with them?

"We all want to work, but we're not ready."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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