Windsor

New COVID-19 rules spark frustration for Windsor-Essex businesses

Windsor salon owner Ettore Bonato says he's still frustrated over the restrictions in place for small businesses and is doing everything he can just to survive. 

'I'm cleaner than the doctor's office,' says one business owner

Many small, non-essential businesses remain closed to customers in Windsor, but continue to offer curbside pick-up. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Windsor salon owner Ettore Bonato says he's still frustrated over the restrictions in place for small businesses and is doing everything he can just to survive. 

"I'm cleaner than the doctor's office," Bonato told CBC News Wednesday.

"It's just amazing to me because when it comes to small business we do everything we can to stay alive and put 110 per cent into it ... everyone in small business has been cleaning and these restrictions on small business has to pay the price for stupidity of some COVID-idiots so I really feel bad about that." 

But by Thursday at 12:01 a.m. even essential businesses will be adding another restriction to the list: they can only be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. This is one of many additional measures the Ontario government is implementing Thursday as the province has entered a state of emergency to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Yet Bonato, who is also the president of the Ottawa Street Business Improvement Association, says it's still unfair that small, non-essential businesses must stay closed. 

"I think right now for a second lockdown everyone should be considered essential," he said. "This is hard on everyone to stay at home so we as business owners go into our stores and try to do curbside try to stay alive." 

Ettore Bonato owns Ettore's Salon and Aesthetics on Windsor's Ottawa Street. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Chair of the Downtown Windsor BIA (DWBIA) Brian Yeomans said he feels the same and argues that the new measures are still favouring big box stores and forcing small shops to struggle. 

"It's still affecting the small businesses where it's very lightly affecting big box stores that  are able to sell products still without incident," he said. "I want everybody to be safe and I want the pandemic to go away but at the same time you have to be able to be fair to all of the businesses not just to the big box stores."  

At this time, he said none of his members have gone out of business as a result of the pandemic. 

He said the DWBIA continues to call on the provincial government to prevent big box stores from selling non-essential items or to allow small businesses to open but with more targeted restrictions, such as a limited capacity. 

As of Thursday, non-essential businesses will have been closed for a month as the region entered lockdown on Dec. 14. 

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