Timmins chamber asks Porcupine Health Unit to give business community a reopening plan
TIMMINS -- The Timmins Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the Porcupine Health Unit's medical officer of health, asking for a measured re-opening within the unit's jurisdiction.
Chamber officials are asking Dr. Lianne Catton to work with them to figure out a plan so business owners can budget appropriately.
The owners of Full Beard Brewing in Timmins said they've gone above and beyond to ensure their business is ready and safe to reopen with the rest of the province.
"We purchased more picnic tables. We purchased a tent as well to cover some people during hot days or rain or whatnot and hopefully utilize it. We’ve expanded it to larger area ... we applied for that," said Jonathan St-Pierre, co-owner of Full Beard Brewing Co.
St-Pierre said the brewery even has special software to conduct efficient contact tracing. An, with safeguards in place, he co-owner Benjie Potvin are frustrated after seeing people congregating in local parks not following COVID health rules. They don't know when they will be allowed to start serving customers again.
"Give us a little bit," Potvin said. "Let people out. Let business owners police it because it’s not being policed right now. Every small business has people and staff that are ready to do the job and do the job properly. We just need that go ahead and give us that chance.”
On Monday, the health unit announced the Timmins region is not ready to reopen due to high COVID case numbers. But in a letter to Catton, the Timmins chamber asked her for a measured, regional metric to reopening.
“We understand that these restrictions need to continue at this time given the rise in case numbers in our region but we need some milestone setting," said Cameron Grant, senior policy analyst government and stakeholder relations for the chamber.
"Businesses can’t just simply sit by idling. They’ve likely ordered food in anticipation of the June 14 reopening. Now we see that happening on Friday for the rest of the province."
The Porcupine Health Unit did not respond to a request for an interview, but Grant said Catton reached out to the chamber to say her administration was working on what reopening benchmarks could look like.