PEI

Business owner calls for stricter enforcement of self-isolation rules

A P.E.I. restaurateur is calling on Islanders to take self-isolation requirements more seriously, and wants governments to impose harsher penalties on those who don't.

Kevin Murphy says P.E.I. restaurants suffer when people don't take COVID-19 seriously

Kevin Murphy, who owns several restaurants on P.E.I., says he doesn't blame the government for reimposing restrictions with COVID-19 cases on the rise, but it's becoming frustrating for businesses. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

A P.E.I. restaurateur is calling on Islanders to take self-isolation requirements more seriously, and wants governments to impose harsher penalties on those who don't.

Kevin Murphy, president of the Murphy Hospitality Group, says he doesn't blame the province for disallowing in-room dining as a circuit-breaker measure announced Saturday.

But he said the restaurant industry continues to suffer the impacts of other people's carelessness.

"It's getting very frustrating for the restaurant industry when these protocols are not being followed, and this is the impact it's having on our Island, our industry, our restaurants," he said.

"And … it's really time that these are taken seriously. And we have to make examples of people that want to continually break the protocol because it's us that are paying in the business community and it's been going on a year."

The province has fined dozens of people for violating public health measures, but Murphy suggests more needs to be done.

He said while his restaurants will remain open for takeout, he has laid off some staff for the third time this year. 

"No one takes this into account when they see this, that there's hundreds, if not thousands of Islanders that are laid off today and tomorrow.

"And when it's two weeks, three weeks or four weeks, you know, their income and their life, the quality of life, it's just tough for them." 

Mike Perry, owner of The Breakfast Spot, says closing restaurants has a trickle-down effect on other businesses. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

Mike Perry, the owner of the The Breakfast Spot in Summerside, which was identified as a COVID-19 exposure site, said he had planned to open on March 6 after a deep cleaning but now must wait until at least March 14 under the new rules.

"It's devastating. We've lost this weekend's sales, next weekend sales and the following," he said.

It's just so difficult for all of us here, every restaurant.— Mike Perry

"It's just so difficult for all of us here, every restaurant. And it ripples down into other businesses as well that depend on the traffic that we create as a restaurant, [such as] more people coming into town.

"And it's devastating for many, many businesses."

Speaking to CBC News before Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison placed the Island into a 72-hour modified red zone with tighter restrictions late Sunday, Perry said the circuit breaker was the right thing to do, and suggested perhaps government should have done even more.

"It looks like it's spreading quickly. I think the government has to do what they can."

Potential exposure sites

Testing locations and hours

After a busy weekend that saw about 4,500 tests for COVID-19 collected — 2,000 at Three Oaks High School in Summerside alone — provincial public health officials are looking for more swabs. 

Here are the times and places of today's testing clinics for people who may have had exposure at the above sites as well as for anyone experiencing symptoms: 

  • Charlottetown Park Street clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Montague Legion Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m
  • Summerside Slemon Park Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • O'Leary Health Centre Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Health PEI announced changes for testing sites this evening because of potentially bad weather on Tuesday.

  • Stratford testing site at Stratford Town Hall will be open for people aged 19-29 who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and do not have symptoms until close at 8 p.m. tonight. It was previously open only to 19- to 24-year-olds working in that industry today.
  • Three Oaks High School testing site is available for 25- to 29-year-olds who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and who do not have symptoms until 6 p.m. This clinic was also previously open today only to 19- to 24-year-olds.

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With files from Jesara Sinclair

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