Business in Lambton braces for lockdown number three

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This graph from the province's COVID-19 website shows the number of COVID-19 cases linked to some of the businesses which will face the toughest measures under the lockdown which starts Monday in Lambton. Green is bars and restaurants, yellow is recreation and fitness, purple is personal services, like hair salons, and pink is retail. The graph spans two weeks.

Business in Lambton are bracing for another round of lockdown.

Lambton will move into the Grey-Lockdown zone of the province’s reopening framework Monday. It means restaurants will be reduced to takeout, gyms, arenas and personal services such as hair salons will close. Retail businesses will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity in their stores.

The move comes as Lambton has the second highest level of COVID-19 cases per capita in the province. Testing has also confirmed the fast-moving COVID-19 variants are in Lambton, including at an outbreak at Brooke Central School near Alvinston.

Public health, the Central Lambton Family Health Team and the municipality have organized drive thru testing at the Alvinston arena to help families linked to Brooke Central determine who is ill.

For small business people, the move is causing frustration. Officials with one Petrolia hair salon took to social media to argue personal services are not spreading COVID-19. Provincial statistics show since Feb. 23, there have been 15 cases of COVID-19 linked to personal services.

“The personal service industry has not been responsible for spread within the community and we have some of the strictest protocols of any industry,” Jen Taylor writes in the social media post.

“We have done everything asked of us and then some, the protocols have worked. We will at this time adhere to the mandated closure of our shop once again.”

She directs her customers to the government website showing the statistics and then adds. “if after seeing this you feel compelled to question our closure, please contact our MP, MPP, the Premier’s office… We deserve an explanation given the documented low to no transmission and outbreak rates with in the personal care settings.”

In Sarnia, one gym has had enough. Sharky’s says on social media it will remain open, despite the lockdown.

“If Walmart and other places can have multiple people in at once that isn’t monitored, or sanitized …then we are saying screw this. We will be remaining open this lockdown.”

The owners say they will keep classes at 10 people, just as they had been under the Red-Control protocols.

A summary of changes and restrictions under the Grey-Lockdown zone:

  • Gatherings
    • No indoor gatherings with individuals other than your household. Option to join a household if you live alone.
    • Outdoor gatherings capped at 10.
    • Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies will be permitted to allow for up to 15 per cent total occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors – announced today by the Ontario Government.
  • Restaurants
    • Take-out only. No sit-down service
  • Sports and recreation
    • Indoor sports and recreation facilities closed. Exemption for high-performance.
    • Outdoor amenities open for personal use (no teams)
    • Multi-use centres open for specific social services (not recreational)
  • Meeting spaces
    • Closed with exceptions. Open for specific social services.
  • Retail
    • Further capacity limitations
      • 50% primarily groceries/convenience/pharmacy
      • 25% all other retail
    • Mall must actively screen patrons before entry
  • Other businesses
    • Closed with some exceptions for drive-through and pick-up