Nov 23, 2020

By Jane Brown

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The lockdown has begun in both the City of Toronto and Peel Region, with the majority of Ontario’s daily COVID-19 cases in these two areas.

Restrictions for at least the next 28 days include a ban on in-person shopping at non-essential retailers. Restaurants are closed, although takeout and delivery service is still allowed. Personal care services are closed as are indoor sports facilities, gyms, museums and art galleries.

The lockdown also means no indoor organized public events or social gatherings, other than with members of the same household.

Grocery stores, big box retailers, pharmacies, LCBO outlets and Beer Stores remain open but with strict limits as to how many shoppers may be inside at the same time. Childcare and schools stay open.

Dan Kelly is CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. He says it’s simply not fair to close the small retailers and push all of the traffic that they normally serve to stand in line at Costco and Walmart. He also says the move “has elicited such anger from independent businesses, who have taken huge measures to try to protect the public and their employees.”

There is some good news for small retailers.

The application process for a long-awaited, new, federally funded, commercial rent-relief program launches Monday.

The initiative, dubbed the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, is designed to help businesses that are struggling to pay their bills during the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

It will replace an earlier rent-support program for businesses introduced in the spring that saw little pickup because it relied on landlords to apply for assistance.

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines.

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