According to a Canal Corps. spokesman, the re-opening applies to a portion stretching from Lockport to Macedon.

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Some local business owners in towns along the Erie Canal are seeing promise in reopening both to business and boaters. The New York State Canal Corporation announced Friday some regions along the canal will be cleared for restricted boating beginning this coming week.

Messenger Post news partner News10NBC spoke with two businesses in two towns, both shops that were shut down as part of the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order. Now, though, they are allowed to offer curbside or in-store pickup as part of phase one reopening.

Our first stop was Main Street Mercantile in the Village of Fairport.

Like many retailers, the co-op gift and home decor store was forced to sell exclusively online, which co-owner Lesa Kime says led to a drop in sales. Prior to phase one, the store was staying afloat as they offered delivery and non-contact pickup. With phase one underway, though, Kime says the store will begin full curbside pickup.

While she says phase one is a step forward, she is waiting to see what happens when the canal opens up, as boat traffic does bring in more customers.

“Depending on how many people are willing to travel this summer, hopefully, that will help business,” Kime says. “I think, in the beginning, people will be a little weary.”

Weary since the pandemic continues at the same time the state begins opening back up. It’s not just the businesses, but the canal itself.

According to a Canal Corps. spokesman, the re-opening applies to a portion stretching from Lockport to Macedon. Everything west of Lockport will remain at its current low level, as Erie County still has not met all seven metrics necessary for reopening.

The coronavirus pandemic forced a delay in opening the canal, and while the boating and recreational traffic can pick up, it can only be done within locks, which will remain closed through at least July 4.

Up the canal from Fairport, at Chandelier’s Boutique in the Village of Pittsford, owner Darlyne Truax says that despite some of the weariness she’s seeing some recovery both in business and in life. Truax operates three separate locations, but right now only the Pittsford store is offering curbside, call-ahead pickup. “I see people looking in the windows, they’ll see me they’ll wave, they’re like so excited that we’re in here,” Truax says. “I think people are ready to get back to a little bit of normalcy.”

Truax says it’s not just the boat traffic which could pick up, but also foot traffic. We spoke with Pittsford’s Hannah McCarthy as she walked through the village, McCarthy says she’s approaching both shopping and walking with a little caution. “It’s great for the small businesses who really need that action to stay alive, but of course, it’s still important to follow all the regulations, and make sure we’re staying distant,” McCarthy says.

Both Kime and Truax say that while they’re excited for a boost in business, they’re working to make sure it’s all done safely. Kime added Plexiglas and sanitizer in the store for employees, and both owners plan to keep sales on the curb. They say it’s for the health of everyone, whether they come by foot or on the canal.

“Part of this business is the interaction with your customer, and getting to know people, and we’ve missed that,” Truax says. “I just hope that people can come here and feel welcome to come here,” Kime says.