Windsor-Essex restaurant owner 'devastated' over new restrictions

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A Windsor-Essex bar and restaurant owner says he's 'angry and devastated' over the last COVID-19 restrictions announced by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Matt Komsa says December is the month that gets them through the cold January, February and March of next year and he's not sure what to do, he just knows this will hurt a lot of businesses.

Komsa is with the WKND Hospitality Group which owns The Bull & Barrel, The Goat Tap & Eateries, and Wild Child Nightlife.

He told AM800's The Morning Drive that it feels like there's no end in sight to the restrictions but they will huddle up as a management group figure out what they do next.

"You shake you head, right? You can go to dinner at a restaurant before a Spitfires game and the restaurant is at 50 per cent capacity. You can go watch the Spitfires and it's 100 per cent capacity or a show at the {Caesars Windsor} Colosseum, it' makes no sense," says Komsa.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has issued new restrictions aimed at reducing gathering limits and encouraging work-from-home measures as the region faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.

In a letter of instruction issued Sunday, the acting medical officer of health says the additional requirements, which go beyond provincial regulations, will take effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m. and remain in place until further notice.

The new restrictions impose a maximum of 10 people allowed in a social gathering indoors, with exceptions for weddings and funerals, and a maximum of 25 people if the gathering is held outdoors.

Restaurants and bars, along with meeting and event spaces, must limit their indoor capacity to 50 per cent to enable physical distancing and post visible signage indicating the number of people permitted based on this limit.

There must also be strict adherence to face covering requirements in all public settings.

Komsa believes the health unit should come out and give more facts on why the restrictions are impacting restaurants.

"You know, I realize there was the one case in Kingsville but other than that, to me, it's been schools and other places. It hasn't been restaurants where double vaccinated people are going. I just think the health unit  owes us or owes the community more answers and reasons behind their decision," he says.

On Friday, the health unit issued an alert about a high risk COVID-19 exposure point after 42 people who attended a birthday party at Elite Restaurant on Main St. W. in Kingsville tested positive for the virus.

As part of the new restrictions, businesses and organizations must review workplace safety plans with their employees at least once per month and make adjustments as needed, and enable remote work for employees, where reasonably possible.

Without further intervention, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai believes cases can reach levels similar to those seen at the same time last year.