*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.
Burlington, Ont. — Dec. 11, 2020 — Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a motion asking the provincial government to make changes to business restrictions to increase fairness for smaller businesses during the pandemic closures and restrictions.
The resolution is asking the province to level the playing field for small retailers forced to close while big box stores selling the same goods can remain open – so long as they sell food or other essential items. The resolution also asks that capacity limits be based on square footage of a venue, not a hard cap. This would also increase fairness among smaller and larger businesses.
The resolution was developed in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington, which includes representatives from Tourism Burlington, Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce and two business improvement areas – Aldershot Village BIA and the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith sit on the BERN. They worked together to bring the resolution forward, along with Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna.
“We certainly understand that Canadian Governments at all levels are doing their best to keep citizens safe and healthy during this difficult period. I am so thankful that I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada!
Unfortunately, safety measures do not always work as a one-size-fits-all solution. Specifically, we need to adjust measures to accommodate a more balanced square footage per person guideline. People need to get out of their homes from time to time to fight pandemic fatigue and mental stress. If all stores and restaurants abide strictly by the rules of mask wearing, sanitization stations and social distancing, it can offer a better alternative to people hosting social gatherings at home.
It is critically important that we support all of our local businesses that support our local economy and employ Burlington citizens.” — Randall Smallbone, Chair, Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN)
BERN chair Randall Smallbone and Mayor Meed Ward have co-signed a letter to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, the Honorable Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, the Honorable Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, MPPs Jane McKenna, Effie Triantafilopoulos and Parm Gill, Halton Regional Council, Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington. The letter includes a copy of the resolution and reinforces the call for fairness for Burlington businesses.
Councillors Galbraith and Bentivegna will be working together to bring a similar resolution to Halton Regional Council for endorsement. Both councillors own businesses in Burlington, and Councillor Bentivegna has a long history in the hospitality industry.
“We as decision makers need to balance the recommendations of public health while protecting our local economy. Small business is the engine of our economy and will be relied upon as recovery efforts from the pandemic continue. They have greater ability to put in place, public health measures to protect their clients and we feel that they should be given equal opportunities to do so without the threat of closure. Large retailers that are permitted to remain open during lockdowns, have been given an unfair competitive advantage due to their variety of offerings when considering what businesses are essential. We need a solution that can work for all businesses by taking into consideration the square footage of their premises. Hard caps of 10 people permitted indoors does not work for larger restaurants that have the ability to keep people distanced. Many have not opened due to this restriction and some will never open again. We need to work together to come up with local solutions that will save many small businesses and hardworking entrepreneurs from insolvency.” — Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, City of Burlington
“As part of the hospitality industry for many years, I understand how every single customer is important for economic success, especially at this time of year. We must do everything we can to help our local restauranteurs and small business owners. They are the heart and soul of our community and these motions can help keep them open for business.” — Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna, City of Burlington
MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:
We can maintain public health and safety and do better to ensure fairness among our large and smaller businesses, which are the engine of our economy. It makes no sense that a large big box store can sell goods smaller retailers can’t. It makes no sense that the same store can have hundreds of people inside while a large restaurant is capped at 10 regardless of size and ample ability to ensure physical distancing. We hope the government will make the necessary changes that will both protect public health and our local businesses.
- Halton Regional Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Seeking Fairness for Local Businesses During COVID-19
- BERN Dec. 10, 2020 resolution, unanimously endorsed by Burlington City Council
- Joint advocacy letter from BERN chair and Mayor Meed Ward to Premier & Ministers
- Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) website
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at email@example.com or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist