Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased with Premier Ford’s announcement that non-essential retail stores with an external exit will be allowed to reopen their operations on May 19, 2020. We are also encouraged that the government accepted RCC’s best practice recommendation concerning occupancy that will allow for 1 customer per 4 square metres of sales floor into the space at a time. This will ensure that a 2 metre physical distancing between everyone in the store – staff and customers – can be maintained at all times.
We remain very appreciative of the efforts of the Ontario government to date. However, we are concerned that today’s announcement does not extend to malls, therefore, retailers who have only an internal mall entrance, will remain closed. A substantial number of retailers continue to be constrained both by the inability to reopen in the manner announced today, as well as an inability to conduct curbside operations.
We encourage the Ontario government to move swiftly to allow all retailers to resume their operations since the fundamental goal of providing a safe environment for employees and customers can be achieved in all settings. Many of the retailers who are forced to remain closed are in dire straits as they don’t have the required cashflow to cover fixed expenses, including the ability to pay their rent. With limited or no income from sales, many simply can’t remain viable.
Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
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About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2018. 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