The whole world has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in some way or another, and small businesses are no exception.

Provincial health and safety restrictions have been implemented with the aim of creating the widest safety net possible. However, these restrictions are leaving some business owners feeling frustrated with the lack of consistency.

The restriction in reference is: "Business and service restrictions." For example, two similar industries that could be considered "self-care" are in contradiction. The tighter restrictions announced in November saw barbershops and salons close their doors. Yet industries such as orthodontic and massage therapy were given the okay to remain open. 

This theme is the leading indicator with many of the businesses CochraneNow has spoken with. They all come back to "transparency." These small businesses are doing all they can and yet it can be taken away without a clear answer of why. 

Dr. Greg Barnett of Barnett Orthodontics says that while it is not back to 'business as usual' they aren't far off, and he's thankful for it. 

"We were shut right down along with everyone else back in March-April, but we have not been affected since," says Barnett. "We have different screening /protocols in place, but we can still be open and see anyone that wants to come in. I'd say we are 90-95% 'Business as usual' as far as the number of patients coming in the door."

Barnett indicates places such as spas and hair salons are facing a difficult situation and sympathizes with them. As of the new mandates, massage therapy and acupuncture can open.  

Businesses like the Saltwater Wellness Center, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, have been fortunate this time around, as they were unaffected by the rollout of the new restrictions. Before the change of December 23, 2020, massage therapy and acupuncture were not considered essential services, therefore they had to shut down indefinitely. 

The owner of Saltwater Wellness Center, Ashley Tobin, feels things are still uncertain for the future, and she has some concerns going into 2021. 

"I'm still worried about what’s to come, and I think we are all on edge," says Tobin. "We are all just waiting for the next shutdown. Or are we going to open up again? It's just the up and down rollercoaster, and I feel that 2021 is going to be more of the same, unfortunately."  

One thing remains clear, small businesses are resilient and will do whatever it takes to ensure long-term success. Local small business owners are however, requesting a clearer picture and better communication from the province.