Toronto home decor store offers 'food market' and opens for indoor shopping amid lockdown
A Bowring location in North York has created a food market and is open for indoor shopping despite the city being in lockdown.
TORONT -- A home decor store in North York appears to be skirting COVID-19 lockdown rules by offering a food market in order to open its doors for indoor shopping.
On Friday afternoon, customers were seen shopping inside Bowring on Orfus Road, near Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The store is known for selling home decor, household goods and furniture, not food products.
A flyer for the store says it is now open daily for a warehouse sale and is offering “15,000 Sq. Ft. of savings on all tabletop, dining, grocery, living, home decor, lighting and so much more.”
The flyer also encourages people to shop at their “Bowring Food Market.”
It is unknown what food is included in their food market.
Provincial lockdown regulations prohibit all non-essential businesses, including mall and retail stores, from offering indoor shopping in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus. But essential services, such as groceries and pharmacies, are permitted to stay open.
Under these rules, Bowring would be required to close its doors and offer only curbside or pick-up service. However, like big box stores that sell groceries, Bowring’s food market could make it eligible for indoor shopping.
In an email statement to CP24, the City of Toronto said it has an “open investigation” into the store and will “not comment on matters where investigations are ongoing.”
Maureen Sirois, president of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, told CP24 that Bowring’s actions are “unjust and sickening.”
“I just think it’s a terrible workaround, it’s not fair. Bowring has never sold groceries or food in their life, it’s always been giftware and household goods. To throw this in the face of all the other retailers that are locked down and trying to serve their customers safely, and they can open for Christmas and take out half page ads in the Globe and Mail, it is so wrong,” Sirois said.
Toronto and Peel Region went into the grey “lockdown” level of the province’s five-tiered colour-coded COVID-19 response framework on Nov. 23 for at least 28 days to curb the spread of the virus.