Business Group slams new Ontario Retail Rule
January 14, 2021 at 03:06 AM EST
Business Group slams new Ontario Retail Rule One business lobby group is crying foul over the Onrtario government's rules for conducting business during the current pandemic. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the new provincial lockdown rules in Ontario are unfair to small businesses. For the 28 days beginning Thursday, Ontario's non-essential retail stores can only open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Tuesday that grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations can keep their regular hours. The new rules come after the province's lastest models suggested that without new restrictions, daily COVID-19 deaths could double between now and the end of February, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford warning the health care system is "on the brink of collapse." CFIB President Dan Kelly said he worries the new policies limiting opening hours risk further crowding at essential retailers like Walmart stores or Amazon warehouses instead. (Walmart Canada said it will comply with government restrictions and continue using a custom app to count capacity, as well as doing temperature checks for associates and other wellness measures.) "We think that allowing small firms to serve one or three customers at a time would actually take the pressure off of the big box stores," said Kelly. Kelly said the policies announced by Ford's government are confusing for non-essential retailers, which are being told they can stay open with limited hours even as their customers are told that non-essential trips are banned altogether. “I don't understand why a small bookstore can't hand the book - outdoors - to a customer after eight. But you can line up at Costco and buy it,” Kelly said.