Customers lineup outside Sudbury retailers as COVID-19 restrictions lifted Friday
SUDBURY -- It has been more than two months since items that the Ontario government considered "non-essential" have been available for in-person purchase and people in Sudbury are anxious to get back to in-person shopping.
CTV News talked to one Sudbury woman who started out shopping at 6 a.m.
"My first back to in-person shopping was great. My daughter wanted to tag along, it's been a long time since we got to get out of the house. We loved it, everyone at Winners was happy to be back, it was just nice," said Amanda Gopaulsingh.
When Walmart in New Sudbury opened at 7 a.m. on Friday, dozens of customers were already lined up waiting to go in.
Taylor-Anne Pilotte of Pure Country Sudbury was at Homesense and Winners just before 10 a.m. and the lineup to get in the store 30 minutes after opening was wrapped around the buildling.
Big box and grocery stores were forced to cordon off aisles of merchandise and only sell "essentials" when the last stay-at-home order took effect on April 8, while other retailers were only allowed to offer curbside pick up and delivery to their customers. Winners and Homesense have been shuttered since the last emergency orders went into effect.
On Wednesday, during an extreme heatwave, shoppers at the Dollarama in New Sudbury were not allowed to purchase items like ice cube trays because the store said the government deemed the kitchen item "non-essential."
Now, after more than nine weeks, all retail stores may reopen with store capacity limits - except for those located inside a shopping mall without a separate entrance. Due to the continued surge in new COVID-19 infections in the Cochrane District, the Porcupine Health Unit has decided to continue the shutdown for another two weeks, so stores in that area remain under previous restrictions.
Shoppers at Walmart on Friday morning wasted no time filling up carts with items that were considered "non-essential" the day before, like clothes, shoes and toys.
Around Sudbury, many restaurants have been busy building patio areas as outdoor dining resumes on Friday as well. There are limits to how many people can be at a table, four – unless they live in the same household, in which case that cap doesn't apply.