Sault restaurant owners frustrated with latest shutdown

Sault Ste. Marie restaurant grill. April 2/21 (Mike McDonald/CTV Northern Ontario)

With restaurants across Ontario being limited once again to takeout and delivery, business owners in Sault Ste Marie are frustrated that Algoma District — despite its lower COVID-19 case count — is being shutdown with the rest of the province.

The owner of The Breakfast Pig, Angela Caputo, said the shutdown will be disproportionately felt by some sectors.

"We’re just seeing the restaurant and the personal care sector being really affected," Caputo said. "So everything else is still allowed to be open. So...I don’t know what great effect this is going to have, but it has a really damning effect on our business."

Patrons of Shooters Downstairs Lounge on Dennis Street enjoyed their last visit on Friday before the new shutdown begins at midnight on Saturday, just over a month after the last one ended.

"It really feels like we’ve had the rug pulled out from under our feet again," manager Rebecca Sawyer said. "We’ve literally only been open for a month. We didn’t open when all the other bars and restaurants opened. We gave it a couple of extra weeks."

With food and beverage stock at pre-lockdown levels, both business owners are now tasked with using it up before the shutdown.

Caputo said she’s disappointed in Sault Ste Marie MPP Ross Romano.

"I understand I’m not a medical professional, nor is he. But I feel like he really could have gone to bat for us for this regional approach to have stayed in effect," she said.

Sawyer agrees the regional approach to lockdowns should have stayed in place.

"I’m not very happy with the fact that we’re not shutting it down regionally according to the colour code system because I really feel as though we wouldn’t be shutting our doors tonight," she said.

Out of the 309 total active cases in northeastern Ontario, the Algoma District only has 13.