The wait and frustration continues for Lambton businesses

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Josh Douwes in front of his Petrolia business.

Josh Douwes business has been booming. In three years, Black Room Tattoos has grown to the point where Douwes was considering buying his own building in downtown Petrolia.
Then came COVID-19 and the restrictions that left him, and almost every other business, sidelined as the country tried to stop the spread of the respiratory virus.
Slowly, Ontario businesses were given more leeway to provide goods and services, keeping their distance, limiting the number of people in a store and for some wearing face masks.
But as Douwes approached the 12 week of keeping his doors closed, he started questioning when he might be able to open.
Douwes hung a sign in his window saying “Why am I still closed?”
He went to sit in front of the Lambton Public Health building holding up his sign and asking everyone when he would be able to return to work.
Douwes says he’s willing to follow public health guidelines, if he can only get back to work adding “I already have these precautions.”
Even before COVID-19, Douwes wore a mask while he worked, the shop is large enough to make sure the customers are two meters away from anyone but the tattoo artist, and he does a lot of cleaning between clients.
Monday, when the premier announced the second stage of reopening businesses, there was some hope. Personal services like tattoo artists and hair and beauty salons would be able to open Friday. But once again, Douwes, and the rest of Lambton’s businesses were left behind. The province says Lambton must remained closed because of the border and the fear that COVID-19 cases could be more prevalent. That’s something local health officials dispute.
Douwes is more hopeful about reopening, now that the province has begun the process. But he’s still waiting.
And Douwes was not alone in his concern, social media posts from local hair and beauty salons have also expressed frustration with the continued wait.
Jen Tayler in a post from her business, The Rooted Bohemians says “While we are beyond disappointed with this decision we will however continue to follow the guidelines set out by the government.”
And at New You Professional Hair Design, clients were told “We are all very bummed and frustrated but we need to abide by these guidelines as we all need to stay safe and healthy.”