Downtown Ottawa business owners relieved to reopen their doors | CBC News


Some downtown Ottawa enterprise house owners say they’re relieved they will be in a position to reopen this week after being compelled to shutter their doorways throughout a weeks-long protest that was rife with site visitors disruptions, inaccessible streets and, most not too long ago, police checkpoints.

“We’re feeling actually excited, huge sighs of aid right here,” stated Sarah Chown, managing companion of the Metropolitan Brasserie, situated on the nook of Rideau Road and Sussex Drive, an intersection the place convoy individuals blocked the roads for a lot of the previous three weeks.

Chown stated the restaurant stayed open for takeout all through many of the pandemic however needed to shut throughout the primary two weeks of the protest as a result of it was inaccessible.

“The monetary influence that [the protest] has triggered us as a enterprise, in addition to our staff, has been devastating, to say the least,” she stated, including the protest additionally occurred throughout two of probably the most profitable winter holidays; Valentine’s Day and Household Day.

The truck convoy seen from the Westin Lodge in Ottawa on Sunday February 6, 2022. The weeks-long protest blocked many individuals’s capability to get across the downtown core. (Reno Patry/CBC/Radio Canada)

Different companies stated they’ve additionally been feeling the results of the protest, together with these within the Rideau Centre the place greater than 1,500 individuals work. 

“This was the largest blow we have had within the final two years,” stated John Bourada, who owns the New York Fries franchise within the meals court docket.

The mall is usually open 364 days a 12 months, however locked its doorways inside days of the beginning of the protest. It reopens Tuesday.

“We have been used to unpredictability for the final two years, and gone by way of lockdowns,” he stated.

“However even by way of lockdowns we had been in a position to keep open and do curbside takeout and supply, however [the protest] simply shut us down fully.”

Bourada stated he initially thought the variety of individuals collaborating within the protest would possibly usher in additional enterprise, till he realized it “wasn’t a controllable scenario.” 

He stated individuals eliminated the rope across the meals court docket, stood on tables and sang and danced with out masks.

Christine Leadman is government director of the Financial institution Road BIA. She says companies have suffered considerably in the course of the previous a number of weeks as a protest within the downtown core compelled many to shutter their doorways. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Feds pledge $20M

On Saturday, the federal authorities introduced it will allocate $20 million to support Ottawa businesses affected by the protest. Small companies will be capable to apply for as much as $10,000 to assist defray non-deferrable operational prices.

However native BIAs say the funds will not come near masking what companies misplaced.

“It actually would not minimize it,” stated Christine Leadman, government director of the Downtown Financial institution Road BIA, including the cash probably would not cowl most companies’ insurance coverage funds and hydro payments over the past three weeks.

“A few of my enterprise house owners have indicated that they’ve misplaced extra within the final three weeks than they did in the course of the lockdown,” she stated. 

“Clearly we’re grateful for that [money], however it’s actually a drop within the bucket whenever you have a look at what we’ve got misplaced and the bills that proceed to return in,” she stated. 

Focus turns to welcoming again prospects

With the announcement police had begun to take away some checkpoints within the ByWard Market Monday as demonstrators have largely left the downtown core, companies hope prospects will really feel secure sufficient to take their place.

Kevin McHale, the chief director of Sparks Road BIA, stated there’s an anxiousness to get previous the protest and the chilly climate and give attention to revitalization of spring. 

“Hopefully that is the final chapter of a troublesome couple years right here, the place we will now transfer on,” he stated.

In the meantime, Leadman stated she hopes the previous few weeks won’t deter individuals from eager to arrange store within the space sooner or later, however is aware of an in-depth evaluate of how the scenario was dealt with is required. 

“For the companies and people of us who’ve labored within the core all this time, there has by no means been something like this,” she stated.  


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