The Ontario government’s decisions today recognize what Retail Council of Canada has said all along: that COVID-19 transmission arises primarily from social interactions, not from brief economic activities. Retailers and their employees have worked relentlessly to safeguard customers and colleagues against COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. However, this effort can only be successful if Ontarians are responsible in all settings and interactions.
Businesses have borne the brunt of government lockdown measures to date, and it is appropriate that government will now turn its focus to the real source of the problem. This is an important first step, as government must also ready itself to reopen the economy – smartly and safely. We know from Stanford University’s best practice research that customer density is of great importance in flattening the curve and reducing COVID-19 infections. Their research demonstrates that a reduction in occupancy to 20% has substantially lower economic costs AND is more effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 due to fewer high-density shopping periods, thus the reason why we proposed such an approach to decision-makers some time ago and reiterate again today.
On behalf of Retail of Canada’s thousands of members, we once again implore the public to obey the forthcoming rules so that Ontario retailers – businesses that are at the heart of every community – can find a safe pathway to reopen.
Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
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