Haliburton’s construction and marina sectors are winding down but accepting of the provincial government’s decision to limit their operations on the newest essential businesses list April 3.

The province cut the list of businesses which could stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction and marina industries were considered essential when the first list was released March 23. But now new residential construction is halted, though ongoing construction projects can continue. Marinas can also only open to assist those accessing a primary residence. The rules apply until at least April 18.

Haliburton Marine and Storage owner Pat Bradley said he is not thrilled by the decision, but he agrees with it.

“We’re a community that’s going to get affected very, very drastically if we don’t all do something about it,” Bradley said. “Morally, the right thing to do is limit the exposure to everybody in any way that you can.”

The province also restricted several businesses to alternative models like curbside pick up and delivery only. These include stores selling hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies, computer products and repairs and safety supplies.

“If you are not an essential business, you need to close your doors, work from home if possible and play a role to help contain this outbreak. This is a matter of life and death,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press release.

The Haliburton County Home Builders’ Association said in a press release it supports the province’s decision to limit construction. It added members have worked to meet requirements for sanitization and distancing on build sites allowed to continue.

“The Haliburton County Home Builders’ Association has been focused on the health and safety of everyone on job sites,” president Keith Thomas said.

As far as the government flipping on what businesses are essential, Bradley said he can understand how COVID-19 could make it difficult to figure out.

“If I’m being completely honest, it would be hard to argue a boat is an essential service,” Bradley said. “But this thing evolves so quickly. Nobody knows the right thing to do at the time.”

For now, Bradley said working online and phone only has not hurt them much and customers are supportive. But he added a delayed start date to the cottage season will hurt.

“It has yet to hit our pocketbook, but it will, I know it will. The way other businesses have been hit already, very, very hard. I sympathize with them,” he said. “I hope everybody chooses to do the right thing and we get over this as soon as possible.”

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