Businesses brace for stricter COVID-19 measures
LONDON, ONT. -- Some London businesses say the hardest part about moving into the orange-restrict tier of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework is that they just don’t know what to expect.
"Everything’s a question mark," said Del Mar Restaurant Owner Leo Mikas.
He said they’ve been managing to ride out the changing pandemic protocols so far, but it hasn’t been easy.
"We had a take-out window when everything was locked down back in March. Most of the staff is back now. With limited seating inside we’re still doing good, but we don’t know what’s going to be happening."
At the Marconi Club on Clarke Road, the banquet halls have nearly fallen silent. Club president Rob Arcese said they’re still booking small gatherings, and hoping to hang on until some sense of normalcy returns.
"If we stay at the point now where we bring in 50 people to our lunches and events, we may be able to persevere and get through the next phase."
But there is some encouraging news, according to the executive director of the Argyle BIA. Randy Sidhu said more businesses have opened than closed over the pandemic. But he adds that new restrictions will bring even greater challenges.
"Our hope is that our businesses will continue to adapt like they did the first wave. But you know it’s tough, it’s tough. Even with the subsidies that are available to them. Once the dust settles we’ll see who’s left standing, and we hope that the majority of our businesses are."
The added restrictions come as health officials continue to sound the alarm over COVID-fatigue.
"The rate of spread is much higher now," said Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie. "We absolutely need to continue to double down on our efforts to be safe. Otherwise we won’t be stopping at the orange level restrictions, we’ll go to red. Hopefully not the lockdown."
Mackie added the region will be in orange for at least one week before going to a higher level - pending case counts and hospital capacity.