Tens of thousands sign petition to end lockdown closures of small businesses in Ontario
Residents and businesses in Ontario are pushing through the beginning of yet another full shutdown for all regions, and with more measures on the way today, people seem more weary than ever of what feels like an endless battle.
Business owners have not been shy in expressing their frustration with Premier Doug Ford's constant flip-flopping and what they feel is unfair targeting of certain industries that are not the primary drivers of rising COVID-19 case counts.
The tension is perhaps more palpable at this juncture than ever, with some advocating for fewer restrictions (or simply for better targeted restrictions) and others asking for more.
Among the calls to action is a new petition to end the forced shuttering of small businesses across the province, which has garnered 53,000 signatures and counting within just three days.
Ontario Provincial Government: End the Lockdown of Ontario Small Business - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/cKNV0QiseY via @CdnChange. I’ve seen the great care our #kwawesome small businesses are taking...let’s support them so they survive!— Jennifer Markovic (@JenMarkovic) April 6, 2021
"While big box stores and internationally owned retailers continue to thrive under the provincial regulations, Ontario small businesses are being the target of yet another attack on our livelihoods," reads the petition, which prompted by the measures that kicked in Saturday.
"This most recent shutdown is not a provincial lockdown. With packed malls, in-person schooling, and big box stores running with minimal regulations we cannot be asked to martyr ourselves in the name of lowering transmission."
The entreaty continues on to beg for an end to "inequitable" closures that have led to the demise of so many stores, restaurants, salons and other mainstays, stating that those small businesses that have managed to survive thus far — some of which have been shuttered since October — will not be able to hold on any longer.
The fact that resumption of operations such as outdoor dining at restaurants — and the money that such businesses spent to prepare their patios — only lasted two weeks have not helped the situation.
"The strain these closures are having on our physical and mental health is being overlooked by many in our province; we cannot stand by and watch our communities be decimated by this lockdown," it states.
At this point, given how concerned the government's top health officials are with recent COVID-19 stats, it seems unlikely that there will be any loosening of measures in the foreseeable future — at least until our current four-week-long shutdown is over — regardless of businesses' assuredness that they can operate safely with stringent safety measures in place.
(In the case of salons, this was proven by data.)
While it appears the Ford govt will finally end the big-box preference policy in its renewed retail lockdown, its policy will shift even more retail sales to Amazon & other online giants. This is despite growing data showing it is these very warehouses where COVID is spreading.— Dan Kelly (@CFIB) April 7, 2021
Hopefully, new measures such as the immediate closure of schools in some regions and the cordoning off of non-essential items at big box stores will help ease the frustration that many businesses are feeling about another lockdown that seems to destroy most, while benefitting a select few.
But there is still much backlash regarding the weak measures in settings that have proven to be the source of most outbreaks in the province, such as warehouses, factories and construction sites, as well as our snail's-pace vaccine rollout and a lack of proper paid sick leave for some.
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