The government of Newfoundland and Labrador just announced a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions that will impact retail and quick-service restaurants.
On February 11, 2021, the COVID-19 restrictions will be tightened in St. John’s metro area to deal with a steep increase in cases. For at least the next two weeks:
- Retail stores that do not provide services essential to life, health or personal safety of individuals and animals must close to in-person service but can offer online/ telephone sales with delivery or curbside pick-up. The specific list of ‘essential’ products and services can be found on Page 2 of the mandatory order.
- Retail stores that provide ‘essential’ products and services are allowed to keep their entire retail store open and sell all products. This practice will be subject to ongoing review from Public Health.
- Personal service establishments, including spas, aesthetic services, hair salons, body piercing, tattooing and tanning salons, are to close.
- Animal daycares and grooming facilities can remain open provided they can ensure contactless drop-off and pick-up.
- Restaurants are closed for in-person dining. Take-out, delivery and drive-thru options are permitted.
- Bingo halls and cinemas are closed.
- Group arts and cultural activities are suspended. This includes dance and music classes.
- Gym and fitness facilities, yoga studios, swimming pools, tennis and squash facilities, arenas, dance studios and performance spaces are closed.
- All schools and post-secondary institutions are closed.
- The government is advising against travel in and out of the metro area. Travel to and from this area should be for essential purposes only. Commercial trucking for all products can continue into / out of the metro area.
RCC has expressed its concern with the fact the government made this announcement as of late in the day on February 10, 2021, did not have a press release to provide background information. RCC also questioned why the government would mandate such a complicated approach that is needlessly punitive to businesses. RCC has called on the government to follow the successful approach that has been used to combat the COVID-19 second wave in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In these provinces, retailers were allowed to be open but with strict occupancy limits. This approach kept businesses viable while preventing the congregation of crowds within retail stores.
RCC will continue its advocacy with Public Health to allow all retail to be open but with occupancy limits within retail stores.