Toronto businesses call for scientific evidence proving why they need to be closed
A group of BIAs representing around 1,300 small businesses in Toronto has issued a desperate plea for more action from the provincial government now that Ontario is days into a 28-day shutdown and under a stay-at-home order.
The Riverside District, Queen Street West, Bloorcourt, Leslieville and West Queen West BIAs are all asking Premier Doug Ford to not only provide them and the rest of the province's businesses with more financial support — including coverage of costs incurred by flip-flopping rules — but also more "clarity" about why they have to shutter.
We have joined together with other BIAs (@Bloorcourt_BIA @RiversideBIA @queenstreetwest @WestQueenWest ) to advocate on behalf of ALL #Toronto small and medium sized businesses to our provincial leaders. pic.twitter.com/R2rTbxj3Nk— Leslieville BIA (@LeslievilleBIA) April 9, 2021
"Transparency is needed with credible facts and sources to identify the reasoning for strong and major business closure actions taken by the provincial government," reads an open letter published by the group on Friday.
The missive not only demands further scientific evidence for the government's decision making, but also a more comprehensive plan for the future, including specifics for which targets the province has to hit before these businesses can reopen, whether it be daily case counts or vaccination numbers.
We allow people to go to IKEA but we shut down outdoor patios after being allowed to reopen for 2 weeks with late notice here in Toronto. The restaurants have only been open for take out since last October.— Margie Ramos (@MarRaremos) April 5, 2021
When are we going to start questioning how these lockdowns are handled?
"While we recognize that efforts have been made to support our businesses during the ongoing pandemic, not enough has been done," states the letter.
"Our members are looking for outcomes including more financial support for Toronto-based businesses, policy that is driven by transparent statistics, and clear lines of communication."
Establishments such as salons and restaurants have been understandably livid with the most recent changes to lockdown measures, which included the unfulfilled promise that personal care services could resume this month and the sudden opening of patios for only two weeks before an unexpected emergency shutdown forced them to close.
As someone who very much believes in science and evidence, I would sure like to know how the patios were somehow the problem in toronto and not demanding essential workers go to disease-infested factories with minimal oversight and no labour laws like provincial paid sick time.— kyall glennie (@kyall) April 3, 2021
Some restaurants have gone as far as invoicing the premier for food, drink and other products they purchased in anticipation of patio season that are now going to waste.
Others have simply cited the thousands of dollars they spent on outdoor heaters, glassware, and more to ready their outdoor spaces to accept customers once more on short notice.
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