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Elliot Lake restaurateur upset about provincial, city COVID regs

Owner of Elliot Lake restaurant and food shop blames the province for decision to lay off 30 of his 34 employees
FireSide Classic Grill
Inside at the FireSide Classic Grill

Andrew Young, owner of Elliot Lake's FireSide Classic Grill, says despite taking all precautions including full vaccinations for his staff, Wednesday's provincial return to Phase Two of the provincial pandemic response left him with no choice but to lay off most of the staff at the restaurant.

He also sent an email to the City of Elliot Lake's CAO Daniel Gagnon and Director of Economic Development Steve Antunes expressing his disappointment with the grocery shopping and delivery service the city has engaged with public dollars.

"Just so you are aware, your program of grocery shopping for citizens of Elliot Lake, and delivery affects FireSide Food Shop and other delivery companies in Elliot Lake," he wrote.

The city reinstated its Age Friendly Delivers program this week to help people over 70 with few local contacts get shopping service and free delivery of their grocery and personal hygiene products. 

"Our FireSide Food Shop has delivered restaurant-quality food throughout the pandemic and we continue to offer this service to the public for pick up and delivery," Young wrote. "We are trying to survive and the city has no place or business getting involved in this business.

"You are essentially hurting businesses trying to survive here in these pandemic times," he wrote.

Young went on to point out some of the increasing challenges local restaurants and food delivery services are facing in Elliot Lake.

"On another note, restaurants are facing minimum wage increases, takeout food containers have tripled in price over the year," Young added. "As well, food prices have increased an average of five to eight per cent within the last two months."

Young believes the province has been reactive, not proactive, using an approach that has affected everyone negatively during the pandemic.

As to the staff layoffs, he said, "It breaks my heart to have to lay off these employees that have been working extremely hard during this pandemic. By the time they get the little wage subsidies help, the businesses will be bankrupt."

He also expressed gratitude to the city for its support for restaurants in his email to the city. 

Antunes told ElliotLakeToday that CAO Gagnon will respond to Young's concerns in private communication.


About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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