Retailers support public health being the highest priority, even where there may be serious economic consequences and where businesses are required to operate under strict conditions. Our concern with the current set of Ontario rules is that they were made without a direct link to better health outcomes. Though numbers can vary by region and by day, the statistics have shown retail settings to be a low source of COVID infection: approximately 0.25% of cases (or about 1-in-every 400 cases).
As the government has recently instated province-wide lockdown rules as of December 26 and well into January 2021, we need your help informing government officials that retailers can reopen while maintaining strict safely protocols.
Fewer open stores mean more crowding
It was a mistake to close the majority of retailers entirely. The rules for retail stores differ from the approach taken in other settings, in which public health officials are trying to reduce the number of people coming together in any one place and to minimize exposure times. That has been true in social and family gatherings, public spaces, restaurants and so on. But in retail, the government’s measures have actually increased the number of people shopping in a few big “essential” stores, with longer lines and exposure times. We believe that it makes far more sense health-wise to have fewer people in stores, for shorter amounts of time, all subject to strict capacity limits, physical distancing, and PPE requirements.
Retail settings have been identified as the source of COVID infection in only approximately 0.25% of cases (or about 1 in 400 cases).Government of Ontario: COVID-19 case data
Every day counts.
Our proposal to government is to allow all retailers to open, subject to strict and appropriate health rules. As closures are prolonged, many retailers in Ontario – small, mid and large – who are already on shaky ground, will crumble. Your letter will help inform members of provincial parliament, cabinet ministers and municipal leaders as they re-assess and hopefully amend the lockdown rules.