Chamber CEO thinks mandatory mask wearing beneficial for business

Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce CEO Allan Calvert takes part in a Zoom meeting welcoming him to the role. 8 June 2020. (Screenshot of the Zoom meeting)

The head of the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce thinks the city’s mandatory mask bylaw will help pandemic-stricken businesses recover.

Chamber CEO Allan Calvert told Sue Storr on CHOK (103.9 FM, 1070 AM) Thursday morning that he’s heard from residents who aren’t venturing out for fear of exposure to the virus.

“This initiative, I assure you, will open the door for those people and they’ll say ‘finally, we feel safe going out because it is mandatory, let’s get our mask on and get out,” said Calvert. “There are a lot of people who have not gone out, especially seniors, because we haven’t had these protocols in these areas.”

Calvert said the temporary mask bylaw that takes effect Friday is an important initiative.

“We hear it from business people on both sides — ‘we shouldn’t have it, we should have it’ — I’m telling you, we are blessed here that we have a control on this. There’s no question some of us aren’t comfortable wearing masks because our nose starts to run, etcetera, but it’s for a good reason, believe me.”

Calvert said some local businesses are in dire straits, barely able to pay monthly utility bills, while the area’s big box stores have been very busy.

The chamber, in partnership with the COVID-19 Business/Economic Taskforce, has just initiated a business reopening survey of its 650 members.

They want to hear how local businesses are coping with pandemic safety protocols and how they’re being impacted.

The results will be used to determine what actions should be taken to help businesses with immediate needs, and for the development of action plans for support and recovery of the economy.

-With files from Sue Storr