Kingsville and Leamington small businesses speak out

Downtown Kingsville. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Kingsville and Leamington small businesses are asking for financial support while the municipalities remain the only two in Ontario that have not been permitted to reopen.

While hair salons, tattoo parlours and restaurant patios are allowed to open just 10 kilometres down the road, small businesses in Leamington and Kingsville are forced to remain shuttered. The two towns have been forced to remain in Stage 1 of the provincial government’s plan to reopen the economy due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers.

“That’s the part that’s really nonsensical about all of this,” said Trevor Loop, co-owner of Jack’s Gastro Pub, Banded Goose Brewing Company and Distinctive Inns of Kingsville. “The farms are literally bordering on these towns that have been allowed to open.”

Loop said a group of around 40 businesses in Kingsville and Leamington have joined their voices together to ask for financial support and move into Stage 2.

“We’re every bit as capable as any other region in Ontario to execute this in smart and health fashion,” said Loop.

At this time, businesses in Leamington and Kingsville are nearly four weeks behind in the recovery process than many other small businesses in Ontario.

“Everyone has families they need to protect, that is the number one priority — safety,” said Heather Brown, co-owner of the Main Grill and Ale House. “I get it, I also understand that we are, at a point at this time now four weeks behind others in the province, some people aren’t going to be able to keep their doors open much longer.”