Mayor Caroline McAuley weighed in conversations surrounding regional mayors sitting for dine-in meal service in contravention of the public health orders and current restaurant restrictions.
“Certainly it is having a huge impact, the businesses are seriously hurting. We had invited MLA Garth Rowswell to our December 16 council meeting and it was one of the things we brought up to him — between massage and restaurant concerns. A week later they opened massage services,” said McAuley.
“We need to find a way to support a living and the take-out only is not a viable option, and it trickles down and hurts our other businesses as well.
“When people travel to Vermilion they they can’t even even find a place to sit and have a meal or a coffee. Council will be writing to the government to express our concerns.”
She said she didn’t believe any incidents had arisen as a direct result of restaurants, but wanted to see evidence presented because in the absence of it, people are questioning the decisions of the medical officer of health.
“Ultimately we all want to keep our community safe — I do believe the businesses and everyone want to keep the community safe. We are looking at trying to find that balance because it is starting to have a deep impact on those businesses and the surrounding businesses. It does ripple out. The struggle is as a municipality we have follow provincial guidelines.
“Council has been concerned about this and is looking at ways to address it. We spoke to the MLA and highlighted the urgency, and now we are going to write a letter as well.
“Ideally we would at least have them consider a regional approach (but it’s such a hard thing), we have an outbreak within our community right now so things change very quickly – I’ve even heard of deaths in the area. Safety of our residents is prime.”
She said everyone’s voice matters and they will continue to advocate, but suggested people with concerns exercise their right and continue reaching out to the MLA and to the premier.