Coronavirus: London, Ont., restaurants, bars take lead on closing to fight COVID-19 spread

Some local businesses are taking the proactive approach of shutting their doors to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams recommended that all bars and restaurants close, adding that establishments doing take-out and delivery would be an exception.

Dr. Chris Mackie, the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s medical officer of health and CEO, tweeted that he is “joining the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health leaders in Ontario in calling on all bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and theatres to temporarily close for at least two weeks starting ASAP.”

Before that announcement, Rebel Remedy, Origins Co. and The Barking Frog all posted notices that they were closing until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns.

With St. Patrick’s Day only a day away, owner of The Barking Frog, Kirk Anastasiadis, told Global News that deciding to temporarily close their doors over COVID-19 concerns was not easy.

He said their St. Patrick’s Day event was a sold-out, but they did not feel comfortable opening. All people who purchased tickets will be refunded.

“We employ 75 to 80 people here, so we took all of that into account, but we got together with ownership and management and thought this was the socially responsible thing to do.”

Anastasiadis did say that some of their smaller establishments will stay open, and they will try and help staff out with some free meals at those places because he knows many of them are students.

Ontario has already ordered all public schools to stay closed for two weeks after March break, and Williams is now recommending that all private schools and daycares also close, along with churches.

“If what we can do can make a small impression on improving the situation, then that’s what we want to do,” Peter Cuddy, owner of Origins Co.

Cuddy said their decision to close temporarily is something that needs to be on a broader scale.

“We need to take the same approach that other European countries have done and shut everything done to get a clean start in the next few week or months when we can.”

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