'It’s absolutely ridiculous': Windsor business owners irate at staying in Stage 1
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Owners of a local restaurant, barber shop and esthetics salon are angry with the province for keeping Windsor-Essex in stage one of reopening, for at least another week.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” says Filip Rocca owner of Mezzo Restaurant.
“We're just sitting back and taking this. I think it’s time to take it a little step further and maybe protest a little bit,” says Rocca.
Rocca says regardless of what the province decides, he plans to open his Erie Street restaurant on Canada Day.
“Implement six-feet distancing, we'll take it, masks, we'll take it, but to stay closed we're not going to take it, absolutely not,” says Rocca.
Colleen Lippert, owner of 2 Waves Beauty Bar could barely hold back tears as she watched Ontario Premier Doug Ford make the announcement Monday from Toronto.
“The decisions I now have to make, affect, the careers and livelihood and path of 60 other people,” says Lippert. “It weighs heavy.”
Lippert says she feels forced to write up a list of employees, and choose who gets to keep their job, and who will be let go.
“I’ve been given guidelines and protocols, I've met them, I feel confident in what we can do, to open, and I wanna be given the chance.”
William Thibodeau, owner of East Side Barber, says he’s been denying his customers, who are asking for haircuts, regardless of the rules.
But admits he’s growing impatient.
“The rental relief program, that runs out July 1, and I'm not back to work, so how am I making my ends meet?” Thibodeau says.
On Monday, the Ford government gave Toronto and Peel approval to move into Stage 2 of recovery, but is keeping Windsor-Essex in Stage 1 for at least another week due to the high number of cases in the agri-farm sector.
“Unfortunately the threat of virus in Windsor Essex is too great,” Ford says.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 31 of them coming from the migrant workers population in Essex County.
“Farmers just aren’t cooperating,” says Ford. “They aren’t sending out their people to get tested, we gotta bang our heads against the wall, for why?”