'They are like human Yo-Yo's': Lambton County to move to red Monday after just six days in orange
LONDON, ONT -- The orders are going out fast and furious at Sarnia's Ole Country Diner Sunday morning.
It's one last day of nearly full capacity at the small restaurant while in the Orange-Restrict zone.
On Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Lambton County will move to Red-Control zone of the province’s COVID-19 response framework.
That means restaurants will only be allowed 10 customers at a time indoors.
"It was shock, I didn’t believe it at first, but nothing surprises me anymore," says Kyle Kavanaugh, co-owner of Ole Country Diner.
The stay in Orange was brief. On Tuesday, February 16, the province lifted the lockdown, but just four days later they decided to bump them up a colour
"I think that's why people are upset, they feel like human Yo-Yo's," says Mike Bradley, Sarnia's mayor.
"Tuesday they are optimistic they can open their restaurant they can have 50 people there. They can order food and get ready for the coming weeks and then on Friday it's yanked from them."
Bradley feels there is an inconsistency across the province when it comes to who is in, and who is out.
"You almost need a Ouija board to figure out what the province is going to do," says Bradley.
"I agree we should keep a state of lockdown but it's half-in and half-out. The business owners’ nerves are shot."
At Ironworks Health and Wellness in Point Edward, Ont. clients were getting in one last cardio workout before their indoor gym time will be limited.
"It's frustrating after four days we go from 50 people inside to 10 without understanding how they come up with those numbers," says Jordy Bettridge, owner of Ironworks.
The move from 'Orange' to 'Red' comes after Lambton Public Health reported their cases per 100,000 population recently doubled.
“The incidence rate of COVID-19 in Lambton County last week (Feb 7-13) was 60 per 100,000 persons and that falls above the threshold for Red-Control (40 per 100k),” Dr. Ranade, Medical Officer of Health for the County of Lambton said in a statement.
“It has doubled compared to our rate for the previous week (28 per 100k). While many recent cases have been linked to institutional outbreaks, these settings are a part of the community.”
There are currently six active outbreaks in Lambton County.
"It's frightening to this we've been shut down for almost half of the past calendar year," says Bettridge.
"It is so draining. We spaced out the equipment, added UV air purification retro-fits, fogging, individual spray bottles for every patron that comes in. We have two separate 5000-square-foot rooms, and now you telling me I can have 10 people in 10,000 square feet, it doesn’t make sense."
Back at the diner, Kavanaugh is frustrated but they will stay open for the maximum 10 people indoors. His business plans to add a few extra tables outside in case the weather is nice, and plans to have a lineup outdoors until a table is available.
They have learned from the previous lockdowns, so they are more prepared to handle the new restrictions.
"We've built a website and we have our own delivery service now," says Kavanaugh.
"We've putting our minds together and are making the best of the situation."