With substantial increases in people testing positive for COVID 19, Canada’s most populous province renewed some lockdown rules on businesses in Toronto and neignbouring Peel region.
This means in-person shopping will be prohibited except for essential stores like supermarkets, hardware, convenience stores, pharmacies, and provincial alcohol outlets. These stores will also be limited to 50 per cent of capacity.
Bars and restaurants will no longer be allowed inside or even patio service. Any outdoor gathering of people will also be reduced to 10 people and indoor gatherings prohibited except for members of that household.
Small independent businesses of all types have been dramatically affected by lockdowns and reduced clientele, with large numbers closing permanently. Those that have survived so far fear the deepening financial drain of further lockdowns.
In Toronto anger is rising among small business owners who say this latest lockdown is unfair as they have to close for in-person shopping while large operations, many of them multinationals like Walmart, and Costco remain open to customers.
Premier Doug Ford said the situation with COVID dire and the virus was spreading “like wildfire”. He also said he agreed it’s “not fair’, but that something had to be done otherwise “We’d be in terrible, terrible shape”.
Speaking to CTV News, Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said, “we’re closing down the little flower shop, but you can go buy flowers at Costco, they’re closing down the small lighting store I visited last night in north Toronto, but you can line up anytime at Home Depot to get lights”. He goes on to say that the latest lockdowns in Ontario and Manitoba will likely result in thousands of business failing. He said a prior to these latest lockdown measures the CFIB estimate of business failures stood at 160,000 or one in seven businesses in Canada would close permanently because of COVID measures.
The Ontario provincial government meanwhile has doubled the amount of money committed to businesses forced to close due to publc health measures to $600 million. Recently the federal government also announced a new programme to fund businesses for up to 90% of their rent depending on their circumstances.
Many small businesses say lockdowns only promote further online sales. A Toronto marketing agency The Local Collective, is involved in the ‘not for lease’ campaign. Kaitlin Doherty, founder and managing director of the agency was quoted in BlogTO saying “Now more than ever, small businesses are going up against big massive companies like Amazon”.
The latest lockdown once again also closes zoos, museums casinos, and cultural meeting spaces.
- BlogTO: M Miller: Toronto neighbourhood uses ‘for lease’ signs to shed light on struggling small business
- CTV: A Mae-Jones: Nov 23/20: ‘Just not fair’; Advocate laments big stores selling non-essential goods during lockdown
- PostMedia (Waterloo Chronicle) R Ferguson: Nov 23/20: Small businesses say they’re unfarily targeted by lockdown as Ontario reports 1,589 new COVID-19 cases
- CBC: Nov 24.20 Roncesvalles launches ‘not for lease’ campaign to support small businesses (video report)
- CP24: C Fox: Nov 20/20: Toronto and Peel placed under lockdown, all non-essential retail will be limited to curbside pickup only
- CBC: B Weikle:Nov 25.20: Small retailers push back against lockdown policy that favours big-box stores