Many local businesses do not know when they will be able to reopen, forcing them to continue to face uncertainty for their futures.

Chuck Davidson, President of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, says most businesses reply on the holiday season to generate income. This year's season brought tight restrictions due to the pandemic, creating financial worries.

"The last thing business owners want to do is lay off staff, to lock their doors to customers," he says. "This has been an extremely challenging time."

The newly-announced two more weeks of restrictions will continue to affect the already-struggling businesses.

"Many businesses were hoping that the restrictions would be lessened," he says. "It continues to be a challenging time for a lot of small business owners in Manitoba, as to how long this going to impact them, and whether or not they can get through this in the long run."

Davidson says "what more can I do? and "what is it going to take before I can open my doors again" and the questions at the top of business owners' minds. He says not knowing week-to-week how they are going to pay their bills, or if they need staff or products is causing stress.

While there are several government grants available to and have aided businesses, most wish to open. Davidson says businesses understand why they need to be closed, noting that most of them had been doing beyond what was recommended to keep people safe before the closures.

"A lot of these business owners, from day one, have been following the protocol, putting in place all the PPE measures to make sure they were operating safely, and again, in many cases were doing more than public safety was asking for."

As businesses closed or altered their operations, Davidson found many stood out by switching gears to help with the pandemic, such as breweries making hand sanitizer.

Many are using online commerce to support their business.

"Most businesses have really pivoted their business to figure out what you need to do to operate, what you need to do differently, (and) how you can have that online model."

Thrift stores, on the other hand, have been thriving after reopening their doors. Not every Manitoban is able to afford to purchase new items online or have vehicles to do curbside pick up. Thrift stores were permitted to open to fill that gap of services.

Robby Ahuja, the Chief Development Officer with Adult and Teen Challenge in Central Canada says reopening was a welcome move.

"What we are hearing from the community is that it is good that we are able to be open and meet their needs that they have and that are arising during this time."

robby ahujaAhuja is a former ATC student. (Supplied)

Ahuja says when they opened their Super Thrift Store doors staff saw both new and returning customers. Stores are not seeing the usual volumes of people, but are being kept busy.

"Yes we are open, yes we are a store, but really our heartbeat is helping men, women, and youth and families that are lost, whether it be in addiction or in any needs like that."

Ahuja says the reopening not only allowed them to provide much-needed goods, but also allowed them to continue to support their ministry.

Like many thrift stores, Super Thrift Stores use their profits to support other initiatives. For these stores, the profits go towards ATC programming.

"It is cool to still be able to relate, still interact, and meet their need while sharing who we are, what we do, and be able to offer hope."

Additionally, by having the ability to see people in stores, the staff (many of whom are ATC current or former students) is able to share their stories and connect people in need of addiction counselling and services through ATC.

Davidson is asking Manitobans to continue to support the local businesses that they normally would as much as they can.