Toronto businesses voice concern about Ontario's new tiered lockdown system

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TORONTO -- Businesses in Toronto are reacting to Ontario’s new tiered system for when to impose lockdowns and closures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The new colour-coded framework dictates restrictions on businesses in the province’s 34 public health units and over time they can be escalated or deescalated to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The government said that the four regions currently under a modified Stage 2 – Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York – will be placed in the orange category with “intermediate” restrictions.

That will allow indoor dining to resume at bars and restaurants and most businesses to reopen but with new, stricter rules.

Business owners who spoke with CTV News Toronto in Little India on Gerrard Street East following the announcement said they feel that it’s better to be open but expressed concerns about the new system.

At Udupi Palace serving dosas isn’t what it used to be. Despite an understanding landlord, the wage subsidy and selling ‘tiffinday,’ a bottled curry, sales are down by half.

Restaurants at the “restrict” or “orange” level are now limited to four people per table, closing at 10 p.m., and not serving alcohol past 9 p.m. At the “control” or “red” level, capacity falls to 10 people inside.

“The numbers don’t work. So long-term we need to think this through,” said restaurant owner Seema Pabari. “As business owners and as entrepreneurs who are used to taking risk, this is pushing us over the top.”