Hudson’s Bay is going to court over Ontario’s COVID-19 lockdown measures.
The department store has asked for a judicial review of the orders currently in place in the City of Toronto and Peel Region, which, in part, prohibit in-person shopping at non-essential retail stores.
Since November 23, the two regions have been in the Grey – Lockdown zone of the province’s COVID-19 framework.
The Bay says that Ontario’s health data shows that retail shoppers have not contributed to the virus’ spread “in any significant way.”
“On behalf of thousands of large and small retailers in Toronto and Peel, we have been left with no choice but to ask the Court to recognize the unfairness of the current situation and the need for a fair and evidence-based solution that puts health and safety first and doesn’t jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of retail workers, or the future of many businesses,” they wrote in a statement.
On December 1, Hudson’s Bay and 46 other retailers sent an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, asking them to impose a 25% capacity limit on “non-essential” stores in lockdown regions.
In the letter, the signees say that this would achieve better public health outcomes with less economic fallout and unfairness.
They argue that the government’s decision to close some retailers in lockdown regions but not others has not achieved public health objectives or stopped the spread of COVID-19.
With shoppers funnelled into fewer, increasingly crowded stores, they say that health risks have potentially increased.
“The Government’s approach is unreasonable and unfair, does not support our shared public health objectives, and is causing undue stress and hardships to thousands of retail employees and businesses across the region,” the Bay wrote.
“The situation is dire and untenable for thousands of retailers but it’s not too late for the Government to make a better decision for Ontario, the local economy, public health, and the millions of citizens who live or work in Toronto and Peel.”