There will be no St. Patrick’s Day parties in Kingston’s bars and restaurants Tuesday evening.
All bars and restaurants have now closed their doors because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Restaurants can only offer drive-thru and takeout service.
Premier Doug Ford ordered the mass shutdown Tuesday as he declared a state of emergency across the province.
The forced closures will impact both customers and staff.
“It’s going to be a very big impact, because I wouldn’t be able to pay the employees,” says restaurant owner Michael Argiris.
“We’re caught in this whirlwind, where things are evolving very quickly,” says bar owner Bruce Davis.
“I’ve never had to shut down like this, except for some holidays,” says Argiris, owner of Morrison’s Restaurant across from Market Square in Kingston’s historic downtown, “and I have been here in this country for over 50 years.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Also closed are all theatres and concert venues offering live music and dance and all movie theatres.
“I don’t know what else to say,” says Argiris, “it’s bad for everybody.”
Argiris says he will have to layoff 11 employees and is concerned he will not be able to pay his bills.
“I want to know if the government is going to give us any funds for all this loss,” says Argiris, “because I won’t be able to pay the rent.
“I might have to borrow money.”
“This will have a knock-on effect through the economy,” says Davis, owner of The Alibi, a bar on Princess Street, “and we will see what kind of relief there will be for employees.
“In all reality, I cried last night. I cried today,” says Dave McNamara, owner of The Merchant Tap House bar. “I could very well lose my business. I don’t know what the government is going to do to help us.
“But everyone’s health and safety is more important than chasing a dollar for a business.”
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