Ontario: Stormy waters for small business continue during lockdown | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

Ed Hand's picture
Manotick, Ontario
About the author

Long time interest in city building and municipal politics, I have covered a lot of it in my 30 years in the media.  It's time to bring a bit of common sense to the table when it comes to running our city and delivering services. I am the host of the Unpublished.Cafe podcast. 

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Ontario: Stormy waters for small business continue during lockdown

January 15, 2021

We’re not all rowing in the same direction. That is abundantly clear as Ontario prepares to go into it’s second lockdown. 

The Premier issued an emergency stay at home order mandating essential-travel only for groceries, pharmacare, medical appointments, and for essential-workers. It’s another dark cloud hanging over Ontario’s small businesses. They’re shuttered now for the second time in this pandemic, IF they survived the first.

According to a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one third of small businesses report they will not survive another lockdown. It expects 90 000 to throw in the economic towel. Covid cases continue to escalate, while the health care system teeters on the edge of collapse.

Let’s face it. Something has to be done to reduce the strain on Healthcare. But, it appears the Ontario Government is running out of ideas. Claiming, it’s guided by health experts, all non-essential businesses are closed with the exception of curbside pick up BEFORE 8pm. Meanwhile, Walmart, Costco and Amazon see little change. Why just them?

According to Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“With strict safety measures and capacity limits, big box stores provide the public with one-stop shop options”.

I’d be curious to hear from an Amazon employee about that. The one-stop option is stormy and comes with rough waters for the consumer. How so? Of the retail behemoths still flying their sails, if you’re on a fixed income, you have to fork out at least $60 for a Costco membership to just get in the door. For those with limited means, it’s just one more hurdle.

Perhaps, if the Province figures Costco can remain open, while continuing to reap the financial rewards, then maybe they should waive their membership fee for the pandemic. After all, we’re all in this together, right? 

I won’t hold my breath on that.

When you look at the government’s own numbers, less than 1 percent of infections came from a retail environment. Less than 1%!  When you consider those figures, you might come up with something to allow small retailers to stay open with a limited capacity. Seems reasonable considering the statistics on infections. 

Small business is the backbone of the economy. It invested in safety and security to re-open safely, but as far as the Ontario Government is concerned, it doesn’t need them to help paddle us through this crisis.