HALIFAX, NS — The owner of Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is busy adjusting his business model around the challenges of COVID-19. Pierre Guevremont has geared up for the tourism season, adjusting his strategy and expectations on a daily basis.

“I would characterize our thinking as evolving,” said Guevremont.

According to Guevremont, the announcement of the Atlantic bubble was a significant step forward — a reason for modest optimism with the July and August tourism months now just around the corner.

“Week by week, we change our rules,” said Guevremont. “We change our number of people, reflecting what’s happening with the health department.”

Guevremont is cautiously hoping the 2020 tourist season might actually be better than anticipated. His exporting business remains healthy.

“There are other parts of the business than just the tourists arriving,” said Guevremont. “Although that is a very important component.”

Lamprai & Spice Café owner Suni Ferreira has seen her business hold steady, thanks to the support of local Lunenburg customers.

“They give me tremendous support even through the winter,” said Ferreira who told CTV she is not expecting a busy tourist season but has noticed an encouraging trend in recent weeks.

“Local tourists coming from Halifax and different areas are coming into my café,” said Ferreira. “I am very optimistic for the future.”

In nearby Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, the owner of the Biscuit Eater Café, is focused on more than just tourist dollars. Jessika Hepburn wants society’s focus to be fixed on the needs of all Nova Scotians, given that the pandemic has been very difficult for people – especially those who have been forced to stay at home for several months.

“We want to support people on a fixed pension, those with disabilities and people of colour. Our communities are based on people who don’t have a lot and some people who have more,” said Hepburn. “To make sure that we are meeting the needs of our whole community, that is my priority. To make them feel safe.”

As for the state of her business heading into the summer season? “Planning for no profit. That was my plan. To just work to pay the bank,” said Hepburn.

Hepburn is approaching the summer tourism season with modest expectations.