Ottawa businesses worried about increased restrictions

Ottawa businesses worried about increased restrictions

OTTAWA – Easter dinner is canceled. This is Premier Doug Ford’s message.
“I ask you not to make any plans for Easter. That’s what I can tell you, ”Ford said at a press conference Tuesday.

Amid a third wave that ravages Ontario and sets new records for daily increases in the number of intensive care patients, Ford warns more restrictions may be on the way.

“I will not hesitate to lock things down if necessary. I did it before I did it again, ”said Ford.

A move to the gray area would mean the end of meals inside; patio seating would be reserved for members of the same household.

“What’s going to happen is the same old story. Layoffs again for our employees, ”said Danny Nayel, owner of Broadway in Barrhaven.

He says for restaurants like his, with limited space for patios, increased restrictions would be devastating for staff.

“It sucks, it really sucks. Some of them are their livelihood, and it’s just brutal. I am speechless, ”Nayel said.

Along with changes to restaurants, the next level of provincial restrictions would mean fitness facilities and lounges would be forced to close.

Retail stores would be limited to 25 percent of their capacity and grocery stores would drop to 50 percent of their capacity.

“It certainly has a huge impact on my personal income and on the income of the business,” said Sidd Dulal, partner at BlackMarket Barbershop.

Dulal opened the salon recently, but trying to build a customer base between closings has been a challenge.

“We have invested a lot of money in the business and it will take longer than expected to break even. We’ve been open for a year and it’s really a tough situation to be in. ”

In Ottawa, the city set a record Tuesday with its sixth consecutive day of more than 100 new cases of COVID-19.

At five percent, the test’s positivity rate is as high as it has been in a year.

“It’s a bad situation. the [reproduction number] is around 1.23, which is really, really high, which is well growing exponentially, ”said epidemiologist Dr Raywat Deonandan.

“We can’t vaccinate anymore before that.”

It comes as doctors warn of the potential for record hospitalizations in the capital region. Currently, the capacity of acute beds is 95%.

“The third wave was originally characterized between a race between vaccinations and the variants and the variants won. Now it’s a race between the variants and the capacity of intensive care beds, ”said Deonandan.

Deonandan says the way to stabilize hospitalizations is through more restrictions; something he said should have already been implemented.

“We are already seeing exponential growth. 1.23 given that the breeding number is extraordinarily high, we are probably going to reach higher peaks soon than we saw in the second wave, ”said Deonandan.

For small business owners, it’s a blow to any sense of optimism that the warmer weather brought.

“We were optimistic then and right now, with what we’re looking at, you know I’m a positive person, but my optimism about a positive summer 2021 is waning a bit,” said the owner of one. small business, Michael Wood.

“Small businesses had the most to lose and they took the most precautions and, in many ways, they were hit the hardest by these potential upcoming closures,” he added.

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health could not confirm whether the city was heading into the gray area anytime soon. They tell CTV News they are monitoring “many indicators and measures of COVID-19 in order to make recommendations to the province.”


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