Windsor-Essex Chamber President Calls Stay-At-Home Order 'Devastating'

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The head of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling the province's latest stay-at-home order "devastating."

President and CEO Rakesh Naidu says things were starting to turn around for some local businesses, but the new restrictions will be a big step backward for many. 

He told AM800's The Afternoon News that more permanent closures are unavoidable.

"We are now going to deal with a lot of businesses that have a very difficult decision to make which is how far they can continue and how much deeper they need to dive into their own savings and borrow and how long they can survive. We've come to that point now," he says.

The province's latest stay-at-home order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning and will last for four weeks.

Naidu says the numbers were already grim and will likely get worse.

"One in six businesses throughout Canada are closing down or will close down. For our region, that number is going to be consistent with what we're seeing in Canada, if not worse, because we also have the added disadvantage of the border being closed and the related business from that," he says.

Naidu is hoping this is the last of the lockdown, but nothing is guaranteed.

"We don't have a good handle on the virus. So my concern is that we may get through this four weeks, if we're not further ahead, if we're not in a position where we can say the worst is behind us, then God help us. This is the biggest worry we have," he adds.

Under the order, only stores providing essential goods like grocery and pharmacy items can remain open for in-person shopping.


With files from Patty Handysides