Businesses along the Robson Street retail strip in downtown Vancouver are in the process of dismantling their temporary storefront boarding.
It is a sure sign of the economy readying for a restart, with many of these businesses preparing to reopen their doors for the first time in two months.
- See also:
And this comes just a week after the BC provincial health officer outlined guidelines on how a range of businesses and services can gradually reopen starting in the middle of May, provided that they establish proper physical distancing and other health safety procedures that protect their customers and employees.
Most of these retail businesses shut down over the third week of March, and temporary wooden boarding was erected on many of these storefronts over the last week of March and the first two weeks of April.
Aritzia Robson before:
Aritzia Robson today:
The first murals on the plywood canvasses — carrying messages and symbols of appreciation and hope — in the downtown peninsula were painted shortly after, with organizers of the Vancouver Mural Festival commissioning 40 works on Robson Street, South Granville, and other areas of the Central Business District. Most of the Robson Street murals were completed by the end of last month.
Zara Robson before:
Zara Robson today:
At the start of the shutdown, the Vancouver Police Department encouraged businesses with storefronts to board up as a measure to protect their property from thieves and vandals. The City of Vancouver and local BIAs provided an additional layer, and funded the creation of murals to deter vandalism such as graffiti.
Teri Smith, the executive director of the Robson Street Business Association, told Daily Hive businesses in her retail district are now in various stages of preparing for their reopening, with a number of businesses already finished with removing their boarding. The first wave of reopenings is anticipated to begin before the Victoria Day long weekend.
“We’ve been connecting with our businesses to get a sense of their official re-opening plans and are pleased to report that some doors will re-open as early as May 15,” said Smith.
“We will likely see a wave of openings from then until the end of the month.”
To support businesses and the practice of physical distancing, she says her team is working with both the municipal government and businesses on the potential for expanding the commercial footprint onto the sidewalks and roadway. This could create additional space for queuing and retail, and patios.
“We really need to be flexible in the way we view and define our public space right now to support the viability of our businesses and to ensure the comfort and safety of our customers,” she added.
Lululemon Robson before:
Lululemon Robson today: