Ontario premier says it's 'unfair' big garden centres are fully operational while smaller businesses struggle
TORONTO -- On a day that saw a handful of businesses reopen after weeks of closure following the COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says it’s unfair that “big-box” garden centres are fully operational while smaller businesses are limited to curbside pick-up and delivery services.
“I thought it was unfair too, the reason some of the big-box stores were able to open up, because they had pharmacies and food in it,” Ford said at a news conference on Monday. “They had other items in there and do I agree it’s unfair? Yeah I agree.”
Ford’s comments come after a number of smaller garden centres, which the premier has affectionately described as “the little guys,” complained that larger stores are operating full-on, walk-in nurseries attached to their grocery businesses.
Last week, garden centres, in addition to a few other businesses, were given the green light to reopen while adhering to strict guidelines laid out by the provincial government. These businesses were allowed to reopen on the condition that they only conduct their business by way of delivery orders and curbside pick-up.
Ford did not identify the larger businesses by name, but hinted that changes may be coming to benefit those of a smaller size
“We’re going to have some good news for these folks this week.”
Ford was asked whether enough notice had been given to these businesses ahead of their reopening to which Ford said he had.
The premier added that businesses, especially retail stores, should not wait on the government for guidance ahead of reopening but should start preparing safety protocols now.
“No matter if its three weeks, four weeks, two weeks, whenever it is, start prepping.”
“There’s the warning right now. It’s coming. It’s inevitable. The numbers keep going down, we’re going to get the economy going based on health and science.”
On Monday morning, Ontario health officials reported 370 new cases of the COVID-19, the lowest number of daily cases since April 29.