One of the country’s most prominent business groups is criticizing Ontario’s new lockdown rules, which it says will allow big-box stores like Costco and Walmart, as well as e-commerce giant Amazon, to “rule the retail roost” while jeopardizing the existence of small shops.
But the province says big retail chains are in a better position to handle commerce during a pandemic.
Among Ontario’s new restrictions, meant to tamp down escalating COVID-19 infections, is a mandatory 8 p.m. closing time for all retailers, with the exception of “stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.”
The new rules mean that any store which sells a full complement of groceries ― such as Walmart and Costco ― will be allowed to stay open past 8 p.m. for curbside pickup and delivery, while Amazon will be able to make deliveries past that time. Smaller retailers will be forced to stop, the CFIB said.
“How this will help stop the spread of COVID-19 is anyone’s guess,” CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a statement.
Watch: 6 tips to shop local and support small businesses. Story continues below.
Premier Doug Ford’s office defended the decision, arguing the point is to limit the number of stores Ontarians visit when they leave home for essential purposes.
“With strict safety measures and capacity limits, big box stores provide the public with one-stop shop options. Additionally, in many regions of the province, Ontarians don’t have easy access to online shopping and rely on the convenience and relative affordability of big box retailers,” the premier’s office said in a statement to HuffPost Canada.
“More abilities have been given to Walmart, Costco and Amazon to basically continue to reign the retail roost while small businesses are once again rusting in the dust,” Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Ontario, told HuffPost Canada.
Kwiecinski said her organization had floated many alternative proposals that would have allowed smaller retailers to stay open, including strict customer limits in stores and even health screenings of customers.
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Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel