'One in grey, one in yellow': Lambton and Huron County business owners form partnership
GRAND BEND, ONT. -- With the sun shining on the strip in Grand Bend, it could have been a busy St. Patrick's Day for the beach town's bar owners.
However Lambton County remains in lockdown in the grey-restrict zone under the COVID-19 response framework.
"We were planning a party and bought decorations and were gearing up for that but when we got shut down, there is nothing going on today," says Valente Karamoutzas who owns The Tipsy Pelican near the beach.
In lockdown, there is no indoor or outdoor dining allowed, which meant their large patio was useless.
Grand Bend is located in Lambton Shores which borders Huron County.
A simple imaginary line separating the two counties and you go from grey zone on one side of the line, to three levels lower in yellow on the other.
COVID-19 zone map showing Lambton and Huron County
"We were fortunate that we are in yellow right now so we can operate our business right now with restrictions," says Craig Harlor, production manager at Dark Horse Estate Winery (DHEW).
The winery is just 3.4 kilometres away from the main intersection in Grand Bend, but is located in Huron County.
DHEW and The Tipsy Pelican have decided to join forces for the time being with a weekend pop-up shop restaurant.
The Tipsy Pelican weekend pop-up shop restaurant at Dark Horse Estate Winery on March 17, 2021. (Brent Lale/CTV London)
"We have been partnering with them, they've been selling our wine for a few years now, so we have pretty good relationship," says Harlor, who feels this will only strengthen their working relationship.
Karamoutzas feels they are lucky to have a bond with a business on the 'right side' of the county line.
"They have a beautiful facility...and they are allowing us to use it for the time being while we are shut down in Lambton County," says Karamoutzas. "It's been very helpful to have some sort of restaurant experience while we are shut down right now."
The province has advised against travelling between public health regions.
Lambton Shores is MPP Monte McNaughton's riding. He is asking people to support those in Lambton and help them stay afloat until more vaccines arrive and things can open up.
"I encourage everyone to continue to support small businesses with takeout meals, doing curbside or going into retail businesses that are open at 25 per cent capacity," says McNaughton. "I just plead with people to continue working together, we're going to get through this together."
The owners of the bar and winery say they will continue to do just that as long as necessary.
"It's small business helping small business at this time during the pandemic," says Harlor. "We need to keep everyone going."