Month-long shutdown 'could be the final straw' for some Windsor-Essex businesses

News of a province-wide emergency brake shutdown met with frustration and disappointment from Windsor area businesses, as COVID related numbers in the region appear to be better than other parts in the province.

“We have a total of eight in patients with COVID between both campuses and two of those eight are in the ICU,” says Dr. Wassim Saad, chief of staff at Windsor Regional Hospital.

It’s the lowest number of COVID patients at WRH since last August.

The ICU is currently at 85 per cent capacity.

“Our region usually lags about two or three weeks behind what’s happening in the GTA,” says Saad.

These are the rules for the month-long shutdown that starts Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 a.m.

RESTAURANT OWNERS DEVASTATED

Despite the encouraging numbers, businesses in Windsor-Essex will shutdown to in-person dining under the provincial orders. They can remain open for takeout and delivery.

Thanasis Olympus Greek restaurant was expecting to be busy this Easter weekend.

“It’s devastating. This could be the final straw in many restaurants careers,” says owner Nick Pontikis.

The restaurants can remain open for takeout and delivery only.

“All of a sudden you’re allowed no people,” says Pontikis. “You’re dependent on takeout. Takeout in my case represents 10 per cent of my gross.”

Just last month, the Ford government expanded indoor capacity at restaurants to 50 per cent with a maximum of 50 people.

“What the worst part is the open, close, open, close,” says Pontikis.

Pontikis says he has gone to great lengths following COVID-19 guidelines to ensure his staff and customers feel safe.

“Restaurants have not led to any kind of noticeable rise in cases,” says Pontikis. “So why are we being punished time after time.”

GYMS CLOSING FOR THIRD TIME

It’s been quite the workout for local gyms just trying to run their business.

“Gyms, restaurants, retail. We’re still the ones being shut down and we’re not the problem,” says Kristie Kipp, general manager of Xanadu Fitness.

This is the third time they’ve been forced to shut their doors – other closures were from mid-March 2020 until mid-August 2020 and mid-December until mid-February.

“Let us workout outside. Let us move. These people depend on us,”

RETAIL STORES WILL REMAIN OPEN AT 25 PER CENT CAPACITY

“We’re grateful we don’t have to close and we’ll take it one customer at a time,” says Peter Leardi, owner of 67 Richmond.

Leardi says confusion over what is opened and closed has already begun with customers.

“We see light at the end of the tunnel, we just gotta get there,” says Leardi.