Businesses are starting to open up in the Madawaska Valley, but not all at once.

Some businesses, like Barry’s Bay Home Hardware, were able to open their doors right away. However, other businesses like the Wilno Tavern will open their doors on Friday, February 19th.

Social Media Specialist Travis Richards, who manages the social media accounts of many businesses, says safety is top of mind for them. Many are ramping up their COVID protocols in anticipation of reopening. Richards also indicated that many saw an increase in online traffic, using Digital Main Street Grants to boost their sales. Richards says there is always some fear in reopening, and some businesses are not opening up at this time. These businesses have concerns about closing down again due to COVID, and some are taking a wait-and-see approach to reopening. Richards says in the end, businesses need to protect their employees and customers. However, a lot of them see it as a sign of light at the end of the tunnel. Richards says many are eager to get back out, serve the community, and begin to get back to work as soon as they can.

Richards says that much like his business, some have taken time to make sure that their safety protocols are in place before opening. For his own business, the Travis Richards Office, he has a strict mask policy, investing in more sanitizer, and has all precautions in place. His printing services have also moved to curbside pickup. He says despite being a home-based business, he does interact with the public and needs to take every precaution. He says any question that you may have about reopening should be directed to the Renfrew County District Health Unit.