As of Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., under the direction of the Ontario Government, we are in a province-wide Stay-at-Home Order for the next four weeks – requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes. This includes going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. Our hospitals and health care are working over capacity. The Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives. It is essential that we all take this seriously if we are going to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and it’s impacted on our lives.
Last January I put forward a motion to Council seconded by the Mayor, for the restriction of Sale of Non-Essential Items by Discount Stores and Big Box Retailers. This motion asked that the Mayor, on behalf of City Council, write to the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Minister of Health to request that the Government of Ontario immediately apply the same rules to small business that big-box stores must adhere to, in consultation with Public Health Authorities, and if the Government of Ontario does not concur, that the Government of Ontario immediately require that discount stores and big-box retailers:
- Limit in-person sales to grocery and essential items only; and
- Restrict the sale of non-essential items by cordoning off sales areas displaying non-essential items; and
- Only sell non-essential items via online sales or curbside pickup.
Given the overwhelming number of Covid cases in Ontario, including high numbers for Ottawa, it is clear that strong measures are needed. I support that the province is finally implementing stricter guidelines limiting many non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery by appointment only. In addition they have restricted discount and big box stores to in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only, thus restricting lingering for unessential items while creating a more level playing field for our smaller businesses.
Please stay home, stay safe and be COVID WISE!