Retailers ask Ontario government to lift pandemic restrictions in Toronto and Peel

Dec 2 2020, 7:37 am

Nearly 50 retailers are calling on the Ontario government to lift the current pandemic restrictions in Toronto and Peel regions, saying that the restrictions on non-essential businesses are worsening the effects of the pandemic.

In an open letter, the retailers made the argument to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott that the restrictions in the populous regions of Toronto and Peel haven’t reduced the amount of shopping taking place, but instead have forced residents to travel to nearby regions to shop.

As a result of having fewer open shopping locations, stores in nearby regions are becoming crowded, which the retailers say creates a greater health risk to shoppers.

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The retailers, which include Hudson’s Bay and Canadian Tire, also expressed frustration about Toronto and Peel’s current restrictions negatively impacting small, independently owned businesses disproportionately. The letter notes that by forcing them to shut – while big-box stores and major retailers stay open despite selling many of the same products as the independent retailers — impacts are unbalanced.

“We ask that you move immediately to open all retail in Ontario and impose a 25% capacity limit on ‘non-essential’ retail in lockdown regions, just as several other provinces have done, all with guidance and support from public health officials. This will put fewer people in more stores, increasing safety for all. The current policy does the opposite,” suggested the retailers in the letter.

The retailers assert that with mandatory mask policies, physical distancing, hand sanitization and numerous other safety measures already in place, capacity limits can be utilized to further reduce the potential for community spread of the virus while enabling more businesses to stay open across all regions during a “make-or-break season for retail businesses.”

The letter was concluded by saying, “Capacity restrictions backed by strong social distancing and other safety measures already in place will deliver better health outcomes in a way that is effective, fair, save jobs and supports local businesses and families.”

These are the retailers who signed the letter to the Ontario government:

Aldo Group – David Bensadoun – Chief Executive Officer

Ardene – Mark Dervishian – Chief Operating Officer

Becker’s Bridal & Formal –  Barbara Levy – Director

Birks Group Inc. – Jean-Christophe Bédos – President and Chief Executive Officer

Brown Shoes Inc. – Michael Brownstein – President

Canadian Tire Corporation – Greg Hicks – President & CEO

Drift Outfitters & Fly Shop – Rob Cesta – Owner/Operator

Golf Town & Sporting Life – Chad McKinnon – President

Groupe Dynamite Inc. – Liz Edmiston – President & CEO

Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) – Frederic Tavoukdjian – Country Manager

Harry Rosen Inc. – Larry Rosen, C.M. – Chairman & CEO

Henry’s – Gillian Stein – Chief Executive Officer

Hudson’s Bay – Iain Nairn – President & CEO

IKEA Canada – Michael Ward – CEO & CSO

Indigo – Heather Reisman – CEO

Kitchen Stuff Plus – Mark Halpern – President

La Vie en Rose – François Roberge – President and CEO

Linen Chest – Sheldon Leibner – CEO

Leons Furniture Limited (LFL Group) – Mike Walsh – President & COO

Long & McQuade Musical Instruments – Steve Long – President

MEC Canada – Eric Claus – Chairman and CEO

Mastermind LP – Sarah Jordan – CEO

Mega Group Inc. – Kim Yost – President/CEO

Mister Safety Shoes – John Colantonio – Managing Director

OK Tire Stores Inc. – Jim Caldwell – President and CEO

Old Navy Canada – Dana Dito – Vice President

OutHere by Marcus Chaves – Marcus Chaves – Owner

Peavey Industries LP – Doug Anderson – President & CEO

PetSmart Canada – Alan Blundell – Senior Vice President, President Canada & Retail Operations

Purdys Chocolatier – Karen Flavelle – CEO & President

Reitmans – Jackie Tardif – President

Roots Corporation – Meghan Roach – President & Chief Executive Officer

Saks Fifth Avenue – Marc Metrick – President & CEO

Saks OFF 5TH – Paige Thomas – President & CEO

Sephora Canada – Gregory Bruyer – General Manager

Showcase – Samir Kulkarni – CEO

Sleep Country Canada – David Friesema – Sleep Country Canada

Source for Sports – Brad Hause – President

Staples Canada – David Boone – Chief Executive Officer

Stitch It Clothing Alterations & Dry Cleaning – Taimoor Jamil – President & CEO

Sydney’s Custom Inc. – Sydney Mamane – Owner

TG Appliance Group Inc. – Jason Goemans – Vice President

The Brick – Dave Freeman – President

Toys”R”Us Canada | Babies”R”Us Canada – Vic Bertrand – President & CEO

Urban Barn – Linda Letts – President

William Ashley – Jackie Chiesa – President

YM Inc. – Eric Grundy – Chief Executive Officer

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