Small Businesses are struggling to survive this lockdown as "box-stores" continue semi-business as usual. This needs to change if the stay at home order is extended. Taking pressure off small businesses should be a priority for the government of Ontario. The "box stores" remaining open at 50% could lead to higher numbers. Small businesses should be open with the same health measures in place as "box stores".
The lockdown is lowering numbers, which is a positive for Ontario however, guidelines for the lockdown need to be changed to support small businesses. Large “box-stores” that have had issues keeping up with sanitization rules need to be shutdown. Smaller businesses proved themselves before lockdown by having few to no outbreaks. Ontario will be hard-pressed to justify the current standard of shopping guidelines that benefit "box-stores". As of February 8, both non-essential business and "box-stores" have the same 25% capacity rule.
Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario's economy and it is time to start treating them that way. Closing “box-stores” and allowing small businesses to reopen is the sensible choice for safety and the economy.
However, relief was given to small businesses with the announcement on February 8 that Ontario is rolling back restrictions in the upcoming weeks. In Peterborough, the COVID-19 numbers have been low throughout the pandemic, it seems it would be fair to move the community to lesser restrictions.
The Government of Ontario is slated to give Peterborough a new "zone colour" on February 16, which will loose restrictions for small businesses. As of now, three regions have been given the green light to go to the green zone as of February 10, this includes Kingston, will have the least amount of restrictions. Peterborough prior to the stay-at-home order had the privileged green zone status for the majority of the time the colour zone system was in place, allowing small businesses to operate under limited restrictions. Peterborough currently has similar COVID-19 numbers to Kingston and there has not been a new case since February 6. The Ontario government’s decision for the delayed date for putting Peterborough in a zone, green or otherwise, could be due to its proximity to the GTA. Toronto, Peel, and Hamilton are all regions close to Peterborough with COVID-19 cases in the hundreds. It appears that Peterborough is being held back to discourage travel from these hotspot regions, putting extra strain on small businesses waiting to reopen. However, Kingston is just far enough out of reach of these zones to enjoy a bit more freedom from restrictions.
Peterborough will wait patiently for a “zone colour” until February 16. Small businesses will at this time hopefully be able to open their storefronts and enjoy the benefits of mask-to-mask interaction with their clients.
For more information about how you can support local businesses during the pandemic, visit theboro.ca.
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