WINDSOR, ONT. -- A Chatham man said his initiative for businesses in the province to reopen on April 30, while a stay at home order is in place, has the support of 30 businesses so far.

Ben Labadie, a real estate agent said, “it seems a bit unfair to me that I can continue to make a living, while other people struggle to afford the necessities of life.”

Labadie organized Opening Day Ontario and started a Facebook site where he called for business people to band together.

He posted: “Opening Day is the return to normal where together we go back to our lives where kids play sports, businesses can prosper and people can be free to be with their families and friends.”

Labadie said the main thing is to get people back to work safely, and added the movement is not a debate about COVID-19, facial masks or vaccines.

The provincial stay at home order is for 28 days and is scheduled to end on May 6.

Municipal officials said they are aware of the call to reopen early and reminded people about penalties.

According to Chatham-Kent’s CAO shoppers can be fined $800 and business owners $10,000 for violating the orders.

“We do not want people to suffer further financial hardship if they ignore the lockdown,” said

Don Shropshire.

Chatham-Kent Medial Health Officer pointed out that COVID-19 cases continue a free fall in the municipality.

“The lockdown isn’t the problem, it is the solution to the problem,” said Dr. David Colby.

Colby said that lockdowns are the most effective way to control the spread of COVID, but he too hoped with continued vaccinations the current order will be the last.