It will always be the right decision to prioritize life and health, but the lockdowns we’ve seen over the past several weeks have created nothing short of economic carnage – lost jobs and businesses – without improving health outcomes. It has been a mistake to close most retailers entirely since stores are low-risk environments with approximately 1 in every 400 COVID-19 cases resulting from a retail setting, thus the reason why we proposed a 20% capacity restriction some time ago. Today’s announcement of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is helpful, but we remind the government that businesses of varying sizes deemed to be “non-essential” are in dire need of assistance from all levels of government.
We hear the government’s message loud and clear – people need to stay home to slow the spread. On behalf of our thousands of members, so many of whom are struggling to remain viable, we implore the public to obey the forthcoming rules so that Ontario businesses do not have to suffer over and over again.
Many of us know business owners – people who are at the heart of every community. Most of us know someone who works as an essential retail employee in a grocery or pharmacy store. Business owners and essential workers across Ontario have worked relentlessly to address COVID-19 realities since the beginning of the pandemic. They’ve gone above and beyond and will reopen safely when allowed to do so, but the other side of the coin is outside of their control. Please think of these people throughout the lockdown. Yes, we need to support them by shopping locally – without this support, many will crumble. But we also need to support them by following the rules so that they aren’t continuously punished for the actions of others.
Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
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About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest private sector employer. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org