Community frustrated over sudden change in COVID designation

Mayor Mike Bradley (submitted photo)

Sarnia’s mayor says there’s a lot of frustration among residents and business people over the provincial government’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework.

Mike Bradley told Sue Storr on CHOK (103.9 FM, 1070 AM) Monday morning that this area’s sudden elevation from “Orange-Restrict” to “Red-Control” effective February 22, is particularly difficult for restauranteurs.

“There was a lot of feedback on the weekend from people, particularly in the restaurant business, that they had started to plan their week and they were putting money out to buy food and bring in alcohol,” said Bradley. “Now, all of a sudden, it’s all yanked out from them. Plus, they were getting ready to have staff working.”

Lambton went from “Orange” to “Red” in less than a week, meaning capacity in restaurants and bars drops from 50 patrons to 10.

Mayor Bradley said the community should have been forewarned the “Orange” designation starting February 16 would likely be very temporary given rising COVID numbers locally.

He said people feel like human yo-yos and the uncertainty is impacting their mental health.

Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce President Allan Calvert is moderating a live panel discussion with area businesses Tuesday afternoon.

They’ll talk about local pandemic support programs, how to reopen safely, and taking advantage of a return to consumer spending.

Calvert said the Ontario chamber has told the government it has to stop locking down businesses.

“We’ve already proven to ourselves that we can navigate outside of our homes safely, the vast majority, and we have to enforce that we do it safely,” said Calvert. “That’s going to keep the economy going, and that’s going to keep the tax dollars flowing back to the governments because they need them.”

Tuesday’s virtual panel session is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

For further information and to register click here.

-With files from Sue Storr