Kosy Korner owner Ann Gordon was left with more eggs than she could cook over the Easter weekend when Ontario went into lockdown April 3.
Gordon had to scramble to move the food she had ordered ahead of time, including 260 cartons of eggs. Restaurant dining is closed under provincial restrictions and Gordon said her business cannot afford to operate as takeout only. With half-price specials and community support, the restaurant moved a lot of food, including the eggs, on its last day, April 2, before a month-long closure.
Gordon said she appreciated the community support but would have liked more forewarning.
“I was hoping the shutdown was happening Saturday night, so it gave restaurants a chance to close up,” she said, adding she dislikes small restaurants being closed while box stores remain open with limited capacity. “They didn’t really think about the little guy.”
Businesses across the County and province are facing a third shutdown in the past year due to rising COVID-19 counts. The province announced an additional stay at home order April 7 which will close all non-essential retail except for curbside pick[-up.
Gordon said the oversupply cost her about $4,000. She said the restaurant is not profitable enough to stay open for takeout only and believes it could be kept safer than a box store with limited capacity.
“We did take on some loans from the government that we have to pay back,” Gordon said. “We want to be open. We want to serve our customers.”
Camexicanus owner Greg Sadlier had to halt his day camp’s after-school programming He questioned the closure, as well as sports and recreational centres. He said arts and recreation programs have been careful about contact tracing and expressed concern about the impact on children.
“It was very bizarre to see it cancelled in a list of closures that included casinos and other businesses that seem like they would be far more at risk,” he said.
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit acting medical officer of health Dr. Ian Gemmill said the shutdown is not easy but is needed to keep COVID-19 under control.
“We can only urge everyone to stay the course and to follow these new shutdown measures,” Gemmill said. “We all need to do our part to protect others and to ensure our hospitals and health care system are not overwhelmed.”
The government’s offered support throughout. The provincial budget included a second round of payments for its Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which means an extra $10,000-$20,000 for eligible small businesses.
In an April 6 press release, the Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC) highlighted the funds it has offered through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. HCDC said it has provided more than $6.2 million in loans over the past year.
“Businesses and not-for-profit organizations have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic here in Haliburton County,” HCDC executive director Patti Tallman said. “COVID relief programs have capitalized on our unique position and expertise to help support our rural community during these challenging times.”
Gordon said governments are in a difficult position, but the support so far has not been enough for sectors getting closed like restaurants, gyms and salons.
“I don’t think they’ve hit the nail on the head,” she said. “They’ve got to do something more for us.”
Still, Gordon said she is working on changing her menu and is hopeful for the summer season ahead.
“A lot of new people buying cottages are going to be out and about,” she said. “I’m hoping it’s going to be really good this year.”