Longtime Sarnia business owner agrees with provincial emergency extension

Ups N' Downs in Sarnia (Photo via Google street view)

A longtime downtown Sarnia business owner says extending the province’s state of emergency for another month is the right move.

The provincial government’s extension could keep restaurants and bars closed until June 30, except for takeout and delivery.

John Mallon of Ups N’ Downs told Sue Storr on CHOK (103.9 FM. 1070 AM) Tuesday that opening too soon would be the worst case scenario.

“In all honesty I’m in no real rush to reopen, I’d rather see us get this beast under control and then be able to open with confidence,” said Mallon. “To open and only have to shut down again when the second wave comes, that just causes chaos.”

Mallon, who’s been in the business 35 years, said he thinks the governments have done a fairly good job, all things considered.

“They had no playbook to run this by, and they took some once-in-a-lifetime strong measures that really knocked the feet out from underneath a lot of us. But at the same time you have to think about the families of the six thousand-plus people who have died. It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

The Front Street restaurant has been closed since just before St. Patrick’s Day in March.

John's Restaurant on London Line in Sarnia. July 2019. (Photo from Google Maps)

John’s Restaurant on London Line in Sarnia. July 2019. (Photo from Google Maps)

Leo Stathakis, owner of John’s Restaurant and Coffee Lodge, said they saw an immediate decrease in sales across all their restaurants and more than half of their staff are not at work. He said they’re awaiting further instructions and guidelines from the province.

“We’re eagerly awaiting guidelines from government in terms of how we open our dining rooms, how many people will be allowed in our dining rooms at a time, and how we can handle those people,” Stathakis said.

The extended state of emergency would also see the ban on groups larger than five people continue.

-With files from Sue Storr