Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce CEO Allan Calvert. August 2020. (Photo by the Chamber)Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce CEO Allan Calvert. August 2020. (Photo by the Chamber)

Chamber president calling for more supports for shuttered businesses

The President of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce says the provincial government should tie COVID restrictions to metrics so that employers, workers and families can plan ahead.

Allan Calvert made the comments to Sarnia News Today shortly after the province announced enhanced measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

He said right now workplaces aren't sure what to expect.

"Where are we going to be down the road? Where are we going to be 21 days from now?," said Calvert. "These newly imposed health measures are obviously intended to control the spread of Omicron but this must be met with immediate, targeted relief, particularly for small businesses. Many of them cannot afford any further reduction in revenue."

Calvert said the Ontario Chamber is lobbying the province to increase support for places like restaurants and gyms.

"There are restaurants right now, as we speak, that are closed because of the continued challenges of getting healthy employees to their place of work. Now, as it turns out, most of the employees won't be coming back anyway because indoor dining rooms are closed. It's easy to tell them to try and hang in there but these businesses have been hanging in for two years."

As of Wednesday, all restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be required to close for indoor dining. All indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms will also be closed.

There are also tightened capacity restrictions for shopping malls and indoor events.

Schools are also shifting to remote learning until at least January 17.

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