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With just over a month to go until Christmas, staff at a Halifax-area shop have been busy as shoppers prepare for the holiday season.

“The past few weeks has actually been very much like the week before Christmas,” said Mark Smith, co-owner of Made in the Maritimes. “I’m getting a sense that a lot of people might be getting their shopping done early this year with the anticipation of a possible lockdown.”

Like many businesses in Nova Scotia, Made in the Maritimes had to close for two-and-a-half months in the spring, when COVID-19 first started to affect the province.

The store has since reopened and hired back its nine employees, but with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Halifax Regional Municipality, many are concerned about the potential for another lockdown.

Smith says his store would be significantly impacted if there was another economic shutdown.

“This period of time leading to Christmas is what helps us really get through January, February, March, really into the spring in the New Year, that’s traditionally the slowest shopping time. We would hate to have to lay off our staff again if we have to go into a lockdown,” he said.

Public Health officials are still working to determine how a number of people became infected with the novel coronavirus. As the number of active cases continues to grow in the Central Zone, some Haligonians say they are concerned.

"I’ve just become more cautious I guess. I wear the mask as I have been all along when I go into stores or restaurants. I’m trying to stay further away from people, make sure I see further away from people. And just keeping an eye on it really I think it’s a shame that we got this far and getting so close to when there might be a vaccine in the new year and this is when we’re being hit and I think it’s unfortunate,” said resident Cliff White.

"We lived in kind of a paradise here for more of the summer and the fall, so to see that go is a little sad.”

Geffrey Bishop says he isn’t changing up his daily routine because of COVID-19, but is trying to support local businesses.

“As a local business owner as well it is worrisome, I’m not going to lie. However, we got to trust that the government makes the right decisions. I know personally we’re trying to support local businesses as possible and keep buying,” he said.

Online learning started Monday for students at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour, N.S., and Graham Creighton Junior High in Cherry Brook, N.S. Both schools are closed until Dec. 7 after a positive case of COVID-19 was identified at Graham Creighton and two positive cases were identified at Auburn Drive.

Over the weekend, Halifax Regional Police handed out a $1,000 ticket after more than 60 people reportedly gathered for a party on Edward Street in the city’s south end.

New restrictions came into effect Monday for parts of HRM and Hants County, most notably gathering limits in the two jurisdictions have been reduced from 10 people to five people.

Police have handed out more than 250 tickets to people not obeying public health guidelines since March. Officers say they want to educate the public but will take action if people aren’t following pandemic restrictions.

"We know that this is only going to work if we all pitch in and do it together so we’re hoping to encourage people to continue doing that, and if not, then we will have to look at enforcement,” said Const. John MacLeod.

from CTV News - Atlantic
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